A recent survey by LinkedIn revealed that 52% of jobseekers wouldn’t accept a job offer if they didn’t know or didn’t agree with a company’s mission, values or purpose. Hays CEO, Alistair Cox, has urged business leaders to determine what their company’s purpose is and ensure it is being articulated to existing and potential employees, clients and stakeholders.
A company’s purpose is its reason for being in business. People are increasingly being motivated to work for businesses which prioritise social responsibility, instead of more traditional motivators such as salary and benefits.
Alistair explains; “By joining a purpose-driven organisation – one that is aligned to our own value system – we are able to find solace in the fact that, collectively, as part of a team, we are better able to have the positive impact on the world that we feel we need to make.”
Alistair says that business leaders must be able to define, communicate and enact why an organisation exists and it needs to feel authentic. If businesses fail to do so then they won’t have a positive impact on society, they will struggle to attract potential employees and they will fail to engage their current workforce, clients and stakeholders.
Alistair believes the process can be as simple as rearticulating something that is already there. Using Hays as an example, he says; “Every day, we help thousands of professionals to take the next step in their careers, and help organisations build talented teams. We power the world of work – that is our mission. But our purpose, which we have recently defined, is to benefit society by helping people succeed and enabling organisations to thrive – creating opportunities and improving lives.”
Alistair states that once a purpose has been agreed upon it then needs to be embedded into the DNA of the business and it needs to remain high on the agenda, constantly being reinforced internally. Alistair advises; “It must form a key part of everything – your training programmes, your internal communications, your products, your services, your weekly conference calls, the benefits you offer… everything. If you can commit to reinforcing your purpose in some way, every day, you will see the benefit.”
Once the hard work of embedding the purpose has started, then businesses must communicate it to effectively attract potential employees. Alistair says organisations must encourage their employees to embrace the company’s purpose and to take part in activities which promote it. If employees are passionately connected to the business’s purpose, they will showcase it to the wider world through social media. This in turn will start to attract likeminded people to the organisation.
Using Hays as an example again, Alistair says; “Our people actively share their experiences of living our purpose across their personal social media channels. Every day, our #WeareHays and #HaysHelps hashtags are used by our employees to share their stories of how they personally contribute to helping people and organisations thrive – from running CV clinics, taking part in charity fundraisers, to sharing expert advice, to congratulating a candidate on securing a new role. I’m proud of the fact that our people are truly living our purpose, and, on so many levels, it’s great that they want to shout about it.”
Alistair also advises that it’s important for organisations to hire individuals whose own values align with that of the company. These values must be assessed at the interview stage, by asking questions such as why a person wants to work for the organisation, or what motivates the potential employee to succeed.
Alistair concludes by saying; “Purpose isn’t optional. Purpose isn’t fluffy. Purpose isn’t just about saving the planet. Purpose isn’t a strapline. Purpose is about delivering value for all your stakeholders. Purpose is about responsibility and accountability. Purpose is about benefiting society. Purpose is the new way of doing business. A sense of purpose is what both your current and potential employees want to feel when they come into work every day.”