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Getting Your Purpose Right To Retain Key Talent

ɢᴇᴛᴛɪɴɢ ʏᴏᴜʀ ‘ᴘᴜʀᴘᴏsᴇ’ ʀɪɢʜᴛ ᴛᴏ ʀᴇᴛᴀɪɴ ᴋᴇʏ ᴛᴀʟᴇɴᴛ

Amongst the principal goals of any company, is to attract and retain talent. However, having had time to reflect upon options during the lockdown, there is an ever-growing discontent among employees post-pandemic - driving the ‘Great Resignation’ - resulting in an urgent need for organisations to reconsider their ‘purpose’ if they are to keep their key workers.

In a recent report for HBR, an organisation's purpose is defined into 3 types:

  1. Competence-driven: described as ‘the function that our product serves’ - such as Mercedes’ “We Move the World”

  2. Culture-driven: a people-focused purpose, described as ‘the intent with which we run our business’ - such as Augury's “Machines Talk, We Listen”

  3. Cause-driven: described as ‘the social good we aspire to’ - such as Patagonia’s “In Business to Save our Home Planet”

Finding the organisation's purpose is not easy.

However, to start purpose realignment, it is important to first understand which stakeholders are significantly vested in the change and involve these key players in the process to ensure credibility and relevance.

Founded on the ethos that ‘we treasure what we measure’, it is essential to establish initial metrics and opinions to provide baselines against which to measure improvements. Ensure actions are linked to the company’s strategy (incorporating principles related to DEI and ESGs) and introduce training to embed the new purpose into behaviour at every staffing level and part of the supply chain.

Whilst this will take time, employees seeing that actions are both well-intentioned and authentic, will be more likely to stay - especially if everyone can see how the new purpose improves the way the business operates both internally and externally. Poorly executed, however, will produce the opposite effect.

Either way, if organisations are going to keep invaluable key employees, they will need to reassess their purpose and execute convincingly as a matter of urgency.

How have you defined your organisation's purpose?


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