Corporate purpose is more meaningful to employees during the pandemic: Research

However, companies still have work to do, with too many siloing purpose away from key groups of staff, according to the report from Allison+Partners, Carol Cone on Purpose and the Harris Poll.

The report defines purpose as 'a company’s reason for being in addition to profits that guides its business growth and positive impact on society.' (Photo credit: Getty Images).

SAN FRANCISCO: Fewer than four in 10 employees say their company’s purpose gives their work meaning, and more than one-third (35%) say a company’s positive impact is among the top two most important attributes when they consider staying in or leaving a job. 

That’s according to a study by Allison+Partners, Carol Cone on Purpose and The Harris Poll that was published this week. 

The Purpose Under Pressure report revealed how employees’ priorities have shifted since the beginning of the pandemic. It defines purpose as “a company’s reason for being in addition to profits that guides its business growth and positive impact on society.” 

“Because of the different issues we’ve seen in society [over the last two years], whether it’s the pandemic, the racial justice conversation or economic uncertainty, employees are looking to align with organizations that share their values,” said Whitney Dailey, EVP at Allison and co-lead of the Purpose Center of Excellence.

Dailey added that the number has increased for 66% of employees since pre-pandemic, in “lock step” with the increase in salary and compensation. Yet, according to the study, employers have work to do to more comprehensively embed purpose throughout their company. 

Dailey explained how purpose is being “siloed” away from key stakeholders, as certain areas, such as human resources, are much more engaged on how purpose “leans into their individual role.” In comparison, only 36% of marketers and 32% of strategists say that their employer’s purpose gives their work meaning. 

Aaron Pickering, EVP at Headstand and co-lead of the Purpose Center of Excellence, said companies must readjust their mindset going forward. 

“A lot of [employers] are looking for the Holy Grail in terms of benefits and compensation packages,” he said. “By simply doubling down on purpose commitments and [environmental, social and governance] impact efforts, they could really support their recruitment and retention priorities.”


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