With employers struggling to fill more than 10 million jobs currently in the U.S. alone and rising rates of employee burnout, it’s imperative now more than ever for organizations to keep their workforces engaged and connected to their company’s purpose. More than ever, employees are reflecting on their quality of life and often deciding not to return to the workforce. Amid this ‘great resignation’ and the ongoing burnout epidemic in today’s workforce, workers are evaluating employers more critically, and increasingly searching for new roles where they feel a deeper connection to a company’s purpose.
In fact, according to recent research by McKinsey, nearly two-thirds of American workers say the pandemic has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life. And while 70 percent of the workforce defines their purpose largely through their work, only one-third currently believe their organization strongly connects action to purpose.
To help address this disparity, as well as the ongoing shift from shareholder to stakeholder capitalism, it’s important for organizations to take a fresh look at their purpose and how their people connect to it. It is critical for companies to ensure they’re implementing a connection to purpose in a way that helps drive concrete action, particularly as more and more companies shift to a fully- or partially-digital workplace.
Here are key steps companies can take to integrate purpose into execution:
Integrate purpose into strategy
As with all meaningful change, the shift to purpose-driven work must start at the top. Without leadership, employees will be unlikely to think differently. To truly integrate purpose into the fiber of their organization, leaders must integrate strategy and purpose. Purpose has often been treated as a side initiative – “soft stuff” – and historically, has been something that couldn’t be measured or managed. In order to attract and retain talent, and build an organization of the future, it is critical for companies to make purpose concrete and connect it to work, as opposed to theoretical. This becomes even more important with hybrid and global workforces delivering new challenges for leaders who must find new ways to engage their people.
Connect purpose to daily work
Given that purpose is an abstract concept, it’s important for organizations to find a more concrete application for purpose at work. By leveraging new technology, organizations can engage people around purpose – quickly, continuously, and at scale. Given the significant difference technology can make, companies should consider implementing cutting edge digital solutions to facilitate and measure this connection – and ultimately, drive purpose-driven results more effectively.
I am co-founder of a company called Indiggo whose core purpose is to unleash purposeful leadership. We have an AI-driven platform that can help every manager across an organization identify what’s most meaningful to them about their organization’s purpose, and connect it to their daily work. The technology provides a framework for leaders to articulate what is most meaningful to them about their organization’s purpose and keeps this front and center as they work. It also methodically brings the organization’s purpose into the picture for them as they decide what priorities to focus on, connecting their work to purpose in a more concrete manner. Lastly, the platform provides leadership metrics that include a unique core purpose metric and related AI-driven nudges to give individuals and the organization ongoing insight and data that can be leveraged to improve connection to purpose.
This is particularly important since this connection to purpose in daily work is one of the biggest drivers of motivation and job satisfaction. According to LinkedIn’s Purpose at Work Global Report, more than 7 in 10 professionals in the workforce who identify as purpose-driven are satisfied with their jobs.
Leveraging purpose will drive strong financial results
Organizations that integrate purpose into their business strategies not only foster a more engaged workforce, but they are also more likely to outperform on their financial goals. In fact, recent research has shown that companies’ progress toward achieving stakeholder capitalism often aligns with higher revenue and profit growth.
It’s clear that embracing the key values of stakeholder capitalism – including connection to purpose – can help organizations to better align their people and keep them engaged, connected and on track, all while driving strong financial results. And as we look for new ways to work with a largely digital workforce it is imperative for companies to leverage technology to ensure their strategies are purpose-driven and create meaningful and concrete results for all of their stakeholders.