The worlds first meaningfulness survey in a public setting

Advisory | Case

Horsens Municipality

Investigating the degree of meaning

In Voluntas, we are convinced that focusing on the meaningfulness, people experience in their life, is the key to finding ways to bringing about a fundamental change to the way we lead and realize human potential.

As such, we do not believe that it makes sense to measure employee-satisfaction and/or engagement, as done today in many organizations around the world. Rather, we believe that modern organizations should measure the degree of meaning employees find in their work. Studies show that sense of purpose, leadership, belonging and personal growth drive a greater meaning in the workplace and positively impact employees’ sense of quality of life and motivation. Furthermore, people who find their work meaningful are not only more engaged, they are also more productive and more likely to stay with the organization.

Inspired by a presentation by Morten Albæk, the creator of Voluntas, Horsens Municipality’s department for ‘Handicap, Psychiatry and Socially Vulnerable’ (HPS) was curious to investigate the degree of meaning their employees experience in their work. They therefore invited us to conduct a meaningfulness survey in HPS.


The mission of HPS’ employees is to support citizens who are psycho-logically, physically, and/or socially challenged, in activating their potential and living their lives in accordance with their individual needs, dreams, hopes and goals.

Becoming even better at leading and realizing human potential.

A meaningfulness survey is designed to provide a Meaningfulness Quotient (MQ), indicating the degree of meaning that employees find in their work on a scale of 1-5. The design was customized to HPS terminology and subsequently sent to almost 500 employees.

The MQ of HPS was then derived from an analysis of the four drivers, which covered a total of 24 questions. The MQ-questions differ in many ways from a typical satisfaction survey. For example, instead of asking “is the immediate manager good at planning your work?”, employees are asked “do you experience that your manager leads according to the purpose?”

In addition to the survey, Voluntas facilitated a management workshop with 25 managers from HPS. They participated actively in discussing possible initiatives to improve the Meaningfulness Quotient (MQ) and the role of management in creating a framework that facilitates deeper and more existential dialogue between managers and employees. The purpose of this initiative was clear: Becoming even better at leading and realizing human potential.


Human beings who deserve to live their lives as meaningful as possible

Overall, valuable insights were gained, and a fact-based platform was created, from which individual sections and managers in HPS can speak openly and honestly about strengths, challenges and potentials.

Head of HPS, Cate Kristiansen comments: “Voluntas has not only given us insights into the current level of meaningfulness among employees, but also helped us working with a holistic focus on our employees as human beings who deserve to live their lives as meaningful as possible”.

And HPS’ ambitions do not stop there. Cate Kristiansen’s dream is to develop a meaningfulness survey in collaboration with Voluntas, applicable to the citizens who come in contact with HPS.

In conclusion, HPS in Horsens Municipality, are ground-breaking pioneers, taking the first steps to fundamentally change the way human potential is led and realized.

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