Company Purpose & Values Are Drivers of Employee Productivity

A company’s purpose is quickly becoming a differentiator in retaining and attracting top talent as four in 10 workers say meaningful work is more important to them than pay

Company Purpose

As employers navigate the evolving needs of workers following the ‘Great Resignation’ and movements like ‘Quiet Quitting,’ new research from Alight, Inc. (NYSE: ALIT), finds that four of the top 11 productivity drivers for today’s workers are tied to a company’s purpose and values. These include workers ability to align to productivity statements such as ‘I can be myself at work,’ ‘I feel like I belong to this company,’ ‘My personal values align with the company’s values’ and ‘I feel connected to the purpose or mission of my company.’

Alight’s newly released whitepaper “Putting purpose into practice1,” demonstrates workers are increasingly evaluating employers on key aspects of being a purpose-driven organization. For example, when asked what differentiates one employer from another, workers pointed to factors such as how the company takes a public stand on social and political issues (62%), being highly purpose-driven (55%) and the organization’s ESG strategy (52%).

The findings from the 2022 Alight International Workforce and Wellbeing Mindset Study reinforce the notion that workers are seeking a higher purpose from their work and are rejecting employers that don’t define and operationalize a purpose that aligns with their own values. Alight’s data suggests this is true across all generations, but none more so than the youngest group of workers. More than half (61%) of Gen Z workers deem environmental and social responsibility as a must-have for potential employers, followed closely by the employer being highly purpose-driven (51%), compared to just 29% in that age group citing better than average pay as a top differentiator.

What’s more, when comparing the responses of workers who intend to stay with their company to those looking to leave, 28% more of those planning to stay indicate that they feel connected to the purpose of the company.

“While defining your company as a purpose-driven organization might have seemed like a nice-to-have, the research shows workers correlate an organization’s purpose with their desire to stay as well as their productivity,” said Laine Thomas Conway, communication strategy thought leader at Alight. “Being purpose-driven is quickly becoming a requirement to remain competitive in attracting and retaining key talent.”

What employers can do now.

In a fight for talent, leaning into the organization’s values and purpose can be a distinct advantage for employers. Initial steps organizations can take to ensure they are leading with a purpose-first mindset include:

  1. Analyzing the organization’s purpose, mission and values and ensuring these elements align and support workers’ ability to do personally meaningful work.
  2. Creating a clear communication strategy to align the organization’s values and purpose throughout the entire employee experience for both current employees and job seekers.
  3. Assessing the organization’s approach to social and political issues and creating a response plan to address these moving forward.
  4. Ensuring the organization’s ESG strategy is truly holistic with an emphasis on how the strategy aligns to the organization’s values and the world around it.

“Expectations are shifting, and employers need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to acting on and evangelizing its purpose, values and stance on social issues,” said Kelley Michalik, chief marketing officer at Alight. “Employees are seeking higher purpose from their work and choosing to work for employers that have purpose baked into their ethos. An organization’s commitment to its purpose has the power to strengthen the organization’s brand and set it apart from other organizations as an aspirational place to work.”

Employers need to be purposeful about their purpose. Sitting on the sidelines or moving too slowly in these areas could make people feel less connected and start to look elsewhere. Alight has launched a resource page to help employers along their purpose-driven transformation journey. Visit Alight.com to learn more.

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