Winning Over the Purpose-Focused Employee

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There is a war on for top talent and not everyone is going to be a winner. According to the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, there are “widespread talent and skill shortages” making attracting the best talent a “top concern of business leaders.” Amidst this talent grab, businesses need to be asking, “What makes our organization stand out above the rest?

As we show in our forthcoming book The Purpose Revolution: How Leaders Create Engagement and Competitive Advantage in an Age of Social Good having a clear and authentic purpose is a magnet for top talent across generations and around the globe. Eighty-five percent of US employees said they would stay longer with an employer with a high level of social responsibility and a UK report shows that 42 percent of employees globally say it’s important to work for a company that is making a positive difference in society. The number jumps to six in ten for millennials who say that a company’s ‘sense of purpose’ is a key factor in their employment decisions, and Gallop reported that a full 50 percent of millennials say they’d rather take a pay cut then work for a company with unethical business practices.

So, how can you win in the war for talent? Here are four practices to help your organization come out on top in the age of social good.

1. Build Purpose into Recruiting and Onboarding

Recruiting top talent begins with giving candidates a compelling mission and purpose that motivates them to work for you. Take Airbnb, for example, where you have the chance to “create a world that inspires human connection.” In your company’s job descriptions and on the career page of your website, highlight your organization’s mission and values. Do not merely focus the job description on what candidates will dobut rather focus on how they will find meaning and help you change the world. During onboarding, share stories that make your purpose come alive. Use videos and testimonials from employees to show how working for your company makes a difference.

2. Showcase Purpose Upfront

The interview process is one of the most effective means to demonstrate to candidates that purpose is front and center in your company. On applications and during interviews, clearly feature your values and purpose. Make sure that the job descriptions you post online, whether on your own website or through a third-party source, speak directly to the people you’re trying to attract in today’s evolving market. Don’t just include the duties, requirements, and responsibilities of the position; describe your company’s story, its ethos, and how its purpose ties to your team members’ values and goals. Be bold and highlight how your mission is integral to every aspect of the company and culture.

3. Make Your Mission Real for Hires

Provide candidates with compelling evidence of how your company lives its mission. Like consumers, recruits are skeptical of company claims to be purpose-driven and sustainable; they want concrete proof. Show candidates how they will personally be involved in the good work that you’re doing. Demonstrating with specific data how company initiatives have made an impact in the lives of others is excellent, but you’ll also want to approach recruits in a more personal manner. Bringing in current employees in real time to talk about what working for a purposeful company has meant to them shows that your company’s authenticity is real and tangible. During the interview, ask prospective employees about their life purpose and deepest values, how they can contribute and what issues they care about most. Share your personal purpose and how it is realized in the company.  You want to send the message that purpose is important to your organization; it also increases the likelihood of hiring people with a purpose-orientated attitude towards work.

4. Make Your Career Site a Purpose Site

Your organization should have an interactive career website as a testimonial to its purpose-driven culture. Career websites should be highly engaging and easy to navigate while effectively providing job seekers with a genuine feel for the organization and what it stands for. Ask yourself: Does my company’s employment website engage prospective talent? Does it show meaningful, purposeful work in action? Does it provide clear and compelling statements about our values and what we stand for? Does it show opportunities to learn, grow, contribute, and make the world a better place? Does it provide a behind-the-scenes look into what it’s like to work here? Do you feature the voice of the employee (ideally through videos) so that job seekers can see and hear from people like themselves how great your company is to work for? If you can’t answer yes to most of these questions, it’s time to consider updating the site. See Airbnb for a good example.