Why purpose-driven companies attract the best talent

Finding and retaining the best talent is a key challenge for companies across sectors. In order to gain and maintain a competitive advantage, companies need to attract the right people. Globalisation of markets, the outlook of the economy and increased work mobility are all factors that influence the competition for highly skilled employees and innovative mind-sets.

To succeed in attracting and retaining the best talent companies need to understand the emerging forces shaping employee behaviour and satisfaction.

1. Key trend – across generations

There are numerous of articles showing how Millennials (1977 – 95) and Generation Z (Born 1996 and later) increasingly are driven by purpose. When making career choices Millennials and Gen Z often place purpose, passion and impact over titles and pay-checks.

However purpose is not only owned by Millennials and Gen Z.

A global survey by LinkedIn shows that sense of purpose deepens the further along you are in your career. Baby boomers (1946 – 64) and Gen X (1965 – 76) prioritise purpose over pay and title even to a larger extent than the newest generations entering the workforce.

2. What does this mean for organisations?

It means companies need to get down to action and do the hard work of defining and aligning purpose across the company. Not only to attract the greatest talent from the newest generations in the workforce, but to attract and retain talent at all ages.

An organisation can embody purpose in a number of different ways. Purpose-driven companies have a clearly defined reason for being and a mission that employees at all levels understand and can relate to.

The mission of a company reflect the opportunities and needs the company adresses and how these needs are met. It also refers to the principles and believes of the organisation.

Organisations need to demonstrate commitment to its mission through coherent strategies, plans and practices across the organisation and its business functions. The purpose needs to be reflected in the company values and the organisational culture.

“I think if the people who work for a business are proud of the business they work for, they’ll work that much harder, and therefore, I think turning your business into a real force for good is good business sense as well.” Richard Branson, Virgin

3. Tap into unrealised potential

Forward-looking companies look at the main societal challenges we are facing today and assesses how they can contribute to concrete solutions. The Sustainable Development Goals is a good start. This is good for business – and good for society at large!

If a company only reflects on what they offer and how to offer it, but not on why they exist – its difficult for employees to understand and feel the impact of their everyday work. When companies have a clearly defined and understood reason for being – employees will be more motivated to become part of the journey.

Its well documented that companies with a genuine sense of purpose tend to demonstrate stronger long-term growth than companies without a clearly articulated purpose.

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