Want to engage top talent? Tell them how they’ll contribute


Today, I attended my first Rotary breakfast. 

I have to be honest. Going in, I thought of Rotary as an “old man’s club.” Wow, was I misinformed and embarrassed to know so little about this community and their amazing purpose: to bring together and connect leaders form all continents, cultures, and occupations to do good.

After the meeting, I did some research of my own. It seems that Rotary was formed in 1905 by young professionals, not the seasoned executives that colored my impression of the group. It was created to serve as a true business networking organization, not a just a social club – one where you could share business opportunities with other ethical business people. Today, they gather “to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world.”

Their motto says it all. “Service above self.”

While this morning’s group was small, the backgrounds and service activities of each person I met was interesting and amazing. Their involvement in Rotary had some significant impact on their life. It is a community I want to be a part of – both to further my knowledge of their great purpose and to fill a service void in my own life.

Before this begins to sound like a personal endorsement for Rotary, let me get to my point: My meeting today brought something into perspective for me about the Talent space.

Last week, I posted an article on LinkedIn entitled:  60% of Millennials want to join businesses that have a ‘purpose’.  Based on a report published by Claremont, the article went on to define ‘purpose’ as something that goes beyond corporate social responsibility and “is fundamental to how the business thinks and is at the heart of everything it does” – how the business makes a difference.


Why aligning work with purpose is the key to successful engagement.

Let’s face it, everyone wants to work for an organization where they feel their contributions make a difference. They want to know what their purpose is in the role they hold, the work they deliver, and their impact on those who purchase and depend upon their service or product.

In the book written by Ken Jennings and John Stahl-wert, The Serving Leader, one of the five powerful actions discussed is Run to Great Purpose. Companies who hire talent who want to make a difference see a significant increase in productivity, engagement, and satisfaction in their work. Providing a work environment where people embody a culture of great purpose is not just for millennials, it is for every employee working in every industry.

I was reminded of an old story, in which President John F. Kennedy met a janitor carrying a broom during a visit to the NASA space center. According to the tale, he interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”

“Well, Mr. President,” the janitor responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

Here’s the key message: No matter how large or small your role, you are contributing to the larger story unfolding within your life, your business, and your world. In this man’s eyes, he was helping make history.

And when your entire team embraces that type of attitude and belief system, incredible things happen.

Written by Patty Silbert

President of Newton Talent since 2018, Patty Silbert has over 30 years of experience developing the innovative solutions that help HR professionals just like you meet their most pressing recruitment challenges and their companies achieve their talent acquisition goals. She is a regular writer and speaker on the subjects of recruitment strategy, employment branding, HR technology, and leadership.