Over the past couple of weeks, we have talked a great deal about communicating with employees and candidates during turbulent times. So many organizations struggle with this, and I think we need to take a step back to understand why this struggle might be more prevalent than it should.
The COVID crisis came upon us quickly. Understandably, some of our first actions needed to be internally focused, ensuring our companies protected our people, shifted work, and addressed business sustainability when possible. As this was all unfolding, it was easy for executives to lose sight of their organization’s purpose if it was not an intrinsic part of the company’s DNA.
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 (for customers, shareholders, and the community at large). And it 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 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 percent of surveyed companies said that having a stated “purpose” was important. Unfortunately, only 42 percent 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. For the most part, 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: Last year, a similar Gallup study found that stock prices are often 12 times better among purposeful, value-driven companies than their competitors.
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 aforementioned McKinsey study, only 21 percent of could be tied to social goals, and 11 percent did not track towards making a meaningful contribution that benefits the world. Both of these are huge drivers for talent and an important part of your EVP.
Is it Time to Revisit Your Purpose?
If your company’s purpose seems to be 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.
When Newton Talent first launched, we had a good purpose statement, but there was still room for improvement – especially as we focused on a more holistic approach to serving the marketplace. As a result, two years later, the leadership team spent time refining our Purpose Statement. As an organization that was growing in an ever-evolving talent landscape, it was vital for us to help our employees and candidates understand the true reason we exist. It was clear that many of our employees could describe what we did, but struggled articulating why we did it.
Our work, our focus, and our business model had evolved. Our purpose and value proposition needed to reflect that evolution.
Partnering with our sister company, Newton Institute, and utilizing the company’s Compass, we began uncovering and articulating “who we were” and our unique DNA. By taking the steps first to identify the distinctive characteristics of our organization and our people, it became quite clear we had a purpose far greater than being a great Recruitment Process Outsourcing firm.
Video: Newton Institute’s Compass helps organizations like ours to clarify their identity and direction, so they can communicate it in a way that engages their workforce.
Going through this process allowed us to imagine our goal as so much more than securing a standing as “industry leader”--a rather generic purpose that's widely adopted. We realized that the reason we exist is to help companies achieve their own great purpose through the talent they attract and retain:
We are dedicated to helping companies achieve their purpose through people.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Without great talent, our clients could not exist – and they wouldn’t be able to accomplish their WHY, their Purpose. So, we work hard to bring them the best candidates and to work with candidates and hiring managers to make sure they have the best experience in the industry.
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, with 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, refine it, and embed it.
Do you know what it takes to drive better engagement with your candidates and employees? Talk with the experts at Newton Talent and learn how we can help you build and implement the right strategy for your company. Connect with us.