Although the term ikigai has been used in Japan since medieval times, it has recently become a buzzword as more and more Japanese, like many people all over the world, re-examine their priorities and search for greater purpose and meaning post-pandemic.
The term has no direct translation and is a blend of two words, iki, which means life, and gai, defined as value or worth. Ikigai describes the feeling that your work makes a difference in people’s lives, that purpose is important. Nowadays, more people are seeking out that feeling than ever before.
The great re-think
The past two years have brought many changes to the way people view their place in the world and in their work. In a recent global survey carried out by Microsoft, more than 53% of respondents said they are more likely to prioritize health and wellbeing over work than before the global health crisis began.
Some are experiencing what psychologists call post-traumatic growth, a need to find greater meaning or an enhanced sense of purpose after a traumatic experience, such as the loss of human lives, reduced personal freedom, and for many people, less economic wellbeing caused by the pandemic.
In some developed countries, such as the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, and even Japan with its job-for-life work culture, a record number of people have quit their jobs or say they intend to. 52% of people under age 40 are thinking about changing employers this year, up three percent from last year. Many of them are attracted to other kinds of work that will allow them greater flexibility, better work-life balance, or enhanced security. Others have decided that after the stress and trauma of the past two years, they need to find greater meaning in life.
Why purpose matters for organizations
Ikigai is about doing what we love, excelling at it, and bringing value to others. The concept can be a potent tool for organizations as well as for individuals. One Harvard study found that companies with a clearly defined purpose that was widely understood throughout the organization, experienced more growth than companies without a clearly articulated purpose.
Other research supports the finding that employees are happier at work, more productive, and feel their work is more meaningful when their company and its leaders demonstrate clear purpose.
One simple mission
Ria was founded more than 30 years ago with one simple mission: to help migrant workers stay connected to their loved ones around the world. We’ve grown and evolved a lot over the years so, in the summer of 2020, we decided to pause and evaluate whether our brand and how we convey who we are had kept up with that change. We made sure our purpose, we open ways for a better everyday life, was at the center. We also recommitted to our core values, updated how we tell our story, and refreshed our logo. Then we made sure that those key messages were spread throughout our organization, and beyond.
At Ria, we understand that a money transfer starts long before a customer walks into our store or downloads our app. It starts when someone brave leaves behind everything they know to provide a better life for those they love. Find out more about our culture, what we do and how.
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