Why Purpose is Emerging as a Powerful Factor for our People
Purpose has emerged as a powerful driver for today’s talented prospects that our organizations hope to attract. As I mentioned in the first post in this series, prospects are even willing to accept less pay for the opportunity to work at an organization that has clarified and lives its purpose.
That’s a heckuva endorsement for any effort to bring purpose forward in what we do. But before we rush to do that, let’s take a moment to understand why we as team members and customers have put a premium on purpose. Understanding that can help our organization create context for all those we hope to attract, making our offering even more compelling.
We are overwhelmed. According to research from USC Marshall School of Business, the average person has 74 gigabytes or 9 DVDs worth of data sent to them on an average day. Keeping up with the sheer flow of information can be exhausting. Because paying attention takes energy, and we only have so much energy in a day. Nobel Prize in Economics winner Daniel Kahneman gives an enlightening explanation of this in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. This tsunami of information has led us to quickly discard things and become more miserly with our attention. As such, we gravitate to things that we can quickly identify as having meaning for us. Purpose is like a beacon in this storm.
A crisis of trust
The immediate access to this flood of information has had another effect as well. There has been an increase in the expectation of transparency. Organizations of all types have had to learn how to become more transparent. This has been a rocky road, with organizations being quickly called out by average consumers on the social channels for manipulative behavior and clouding the truth. This has been one of the contributing factors that has lead to an overall drop in trust. 2017 was the first year that the Edelman Trust Barometer found a decline in trust among all four of the sectors it examines – business, media, government, and NGOs. We are becoming more skeptical as consumers and as employees. When an organization leads with meaningful purpose, it helps mitigate the effects of this cultural trend.
A force to be reckoned with
We need to look no further than Millennials to understand why purpose has emerged as a key driver today. This is the world’s largest generation. And one that has shown to have a higher expectation for all organizations to operate with purpose. If that weren’t proof enough, consider that the men and women of Generation Z are beginning to join the workforce and they are embracing the same expectation. For the largest part of the population, purpose is quickly moving beyond a “nice to have” to becoming the price to play.
Delivering on purpose
Embracing and living a meaningful purpose is becoming a requirement for all organizations. Understanding the shifts in everything from technology to culture aid us in our efforts to do just that. The next step is to understand the gaps between our purpose and the experiences we create for our team members and customers (this is something we do through our Brand Believability® study.) Once we understand where the disconnects lie, we can begin to develop experiences that help amplify the profound, positive impact we have on lives, communities, and the world. And genuinely meet this new expectation of all those we hope to serve.