This past year there were several trends that emerged from quiet quitting, great resignation, hustle culture and more, that revealed what candidates and employees expected from employers. As the economy continues to show signs of slowing, it will remain a candidate’s market, which means many employers leave their employee value proposition unchecked. Because several organizations struggle with this, we need to take a step back to understand why this struggle might be more prevalent than necessary.
The Purpose of Purpose
The market changed and the talent landscape continued to evolve, thus causing employers to struggle to find and keep good talent. As this was unfolding, employees were leaving because they wanted more purpose in their work. All these challenges caused talent acquisition leaders to lose sight of the key component in their recruiting efforts – messaging, driven by the organization’s purpose, which consequently leads to helping candidates see the organization’s purpose come to life. An organization’s purpose gets to the heart of why the company does what it does. It defines what the company stands for and its role in our world. It helps set expectations among all stakeholders in the business — both internal (company leadership and employees) and external (customers, shareholders, and the community at large). It also drives the strategic decision-making that moves the company into the future.
Organizations that have a well-defined purpose have, in effect, a way to frame their actions and communicate them as part of a bigger picture. And nowhere is this more apparent than when communicating your employment brand or employer value proposition (EVP).
The Impact of Purpose
A clear and meaningful organizational purpose — articulated in a way all stakeholders can understand is essential to both internal and external audiences.
There have been numerous studies that address the importance of this topic. In a recent report by McKinsey, 82% of surveyed companies said that having a stated “purpose” was important. Unfortunately, only 42% of those companies said their stated “purpose” had much effect.
Why? Many companies’ purpose statements are so generic that they do little to challenge business practices or standards or to create a foundation for actions that might help change public perceptions. Consumers demand more social responsibility from the companies they do business with today. They are more apt to buy when they can buy into what you stand for.
But worse, when the company’s employees or candidates don’t feel aligned with your purpose, they become disengaged. And that can have a devastating effect on a company’s performance: A similar Gallup study found that employees' connection with the mission or purpose of their organization leads to an 8.1% decrease in turnover and a 4.4% increase in profitability.
Employees and candidates want to have common goals and values with their (prospective) employer and be able to contribute ideas and solutions to help the company meet its social responsibilities. We have long known that businesses that build a workplace culture around these ideals will be rewarded with highly engaged, enthusiastic and invested employees.
Unfortunately, of the company purpose statements in the McKinsey study, only 21% could be tied to social goals, and 11% did not track towards making a meaningful contribution that benefits the world. Both are huge drivers for talent and an important part of your EVP.
Is it Time to Revisit Your Purpose?
If your company’s purpose is lacking or, worse, MIA, it’s never too late to refine it. A purpose statement should communicate your company’s “WHY” and how you make the world a better place.
Infusing Purpose in your EVP
Knowing what employees want and value is the foundation of a successful EVP. And there isn’t an employee out there that doesn’t want to find meaning and purpose from their work experience!
Communicating your company’s purpose and EVP, and embedding that message in areas like recruiting, orientation, leadership development, training, and employee rewards can have a tremendous effect on your workforce. It can inspire employees with a sense of hope for the future as well as the satisfaction of contributing to something bigger than themselves. They will have more pride in the company they work for and the value they create for customers and investors. There just is no greater value an employer can offer its people than meaning and purpose. Your EVP, as communicated on your website, in your job postings, and by word of mouth by your team, is often the first time they will encounter it. Therefore, take the time to evaluate it, refine it, and embed it.
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