16 May 2012
Latest Research: Why we need “Purpose” at work
Hot off the press this month, the latest research from global brand consultancy “Calling Brands” reveals a change in employee attitudes towards work. Related closely to Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate “Purpose” is emerging as a powerful new driver of attraction, retention, and productivity.
According to “Crunch Time: The Power of Purpose”, “there’s been a big shift in the relationship between employees and the businesses they work for. This shift is forcing a re-evaluation of many of the assumptions taken for granted about the psychological contract at work. That driver is Purpose: a deeper role that goes beyond satisfying commercial and operational goals, that helps businesses demonstrate exactly why they are valuable to all their stakeholders.
The new importance placed on Purpose is a significant discovery considering how little attention business leaders have given to it until now. What is also clear from their study is that communicating Purpose is no longer just an HR issue: it is important organization-wide.
The survey (4,202 people were surveyed from larger organizations in the United Kingdom, Germany and United States) also revealed that, on average, 57 percent of respondents said they would favour joining an organization that has a clearly defined Purpose. Moreover, an average of 65 percent of respondents claimed that Purpose would motivate them to go the ‘extra mile’ in their jobs and 64 percent claimed it would engender a greater sense of loyalty towards the organization they work for.
Purpose as a driver of recruitment preference:
The respondents claim that after pay and benefits, ‘deeper purpose’ is the most important factor when considering a new job.
Purpose as a driver of discretionary effort:
If the ‘war for talent’ is the perennial priority for HR teams, the performance of the wider business – and therefore a priority for all leaders – relies greatly on discretionary effort.
At a time when competitors are so finely matched in terms of their offer and the operational efficiency of delivery, it is often this extra commitment and productivity that makes the difference between success and failure in the market.
Purpose as a driver of retention:
The final important result from the survey will be of special interest to those organisations that face heightened risk from the expected flight of talent. Almost all of the interviewees stressed the disruption caused by high churn or the departure of key personnel; it represents a big cost for the business on many levels. Not only is there the actual expense of finding, interviewing and hiring people; the business loses valuable time and resources bringing new hires up to a productive and useful standard; and then loses much of that intellectual equity when they move on.
So a business where good people stay, even if for just a little longer, gains significant advantage from that retention.
At Blacksmith we have been talking about “Purpose” for some time and it’s encouraging to now start to see research that supports our belief that when you lead with your purpose you engage on a much deeper level with the people that matter most, your employees, suppliers and customers. You give them a reason to get out of bed in the morning, a reason to go the extra mile, a reason to choose you over the competition that nobody can replicate – it becomes your unique competitive advantage and source of emotional commitment.
You can download the full report here
You can also find out more about our Blacksmith offerings with regards to Purpose here