Authored by Jon Duschinsky, January 2023
Finding, keeping and growing the talent your business needs to drive its growth has become one of the biggest, if not the biggest challenge facing CEOs in North America today.
2021 saw the largest number of voluntary departures from jobs on record, with over 4 million US employees quitting each month. The tight labour market means this trend has continued through 2022. One of the key reasons for this Great Resignation is employees’ search for more meaningful work. Over 30% of those leaving jobs did so due to a lack of such work and 71% of GenZs are prepared to take a pay cut for it. And yet, a recent analysis by the company Benevity of 10 million employees at over 400 companies showed that turnover could be halved by engaging employees in the company’s Purpose. Deloitte, in turn, have found that companies who put an emphasis on their Purpose report 30% higher levels of innovation.
There is a proverb that has never been truer: If I know what you stand for, I can choose to stand with you. If I don’t you will stand alone.
Your future employees are looking at your organization and asking themselves what you stand for. They want to know your Purpose. And they want to hear the story of how you are making a difference for People and Planet, not just how you make your Profit. And your current employees want to be part of your Purpose. They want to be continually challenged in an environment where they can grow, develop and do work that aligns with their Purpose. This creates three major problems for CEOs.
- Firstly, most organizations are unclear on their Purpose. They can demonstrate clearly WHAT they do, and some can even explain HOW they do it. But very few are clear on WHY they do what they do.
- Secondly, even when organizations do the work to clearly articulate their Purpose, then they face significant challenges in translating it into a real culture of impact where their people are thriving.
- Thirdly, most employees are not clear on their own, individual Purpose and therefore cannot align effectively to even the most Purpose-driven organizations.
I work with leaders who face these three problems pretty much every day. So to get help you get 2023 off to a really good start, here is my 5 Step Plan to dealing with these issues and cutting your turnover in half:
1. Gather a group of your frontline staff together for a Purpose Workshop. Bring in someone who is new to the organization to ask them what they think it stands for. Listen hard, take a lot of notes. And don’t try to lead this session yourself, as your people will tell you what they think you want to hear rather than what they actually think.
2. Then go and do the same thing with your leadership team. Again, use an outside facilitator. Compare what you hear from both groups and then write a statement that says “Our Purpose is to……”
3. Go back to your frontline teams and present it back to them. Ask them if it resonates for them and how they feel about it. And then ask them for their ideas about what you could be doing, as an organization, to really live your Purpose – for your employees, for your customers, for your suppliers, for the people in your community…. You can lead this conversation yourself.
4. Bring together your leadership team to review the list of ideas and create an action plan for the next two years. Make sure that you are clear how each idea that makes it onto your action plan really helps you live your Purpose.
5. Present this action plan back to the whole company and ask who wants to work with you and the leadership team to bring it to life. You want team members from every area of the business – and if a frontline team member suggested an idea that made it into the plan, it’s a great idea to invite them to work on bringing it to life. Make sure that you are creating space in your frontline teams’ schedules, so this doesn’t become unpaid overtime. Helping your organization live its Purpose is now part of their job.
Follow this 5-step plan and you’ll see a difference in engagement within weeks.
And once you’ve done these first steps, then it’s time to focus on solving the third of the problems I outlined above: i.e.: helping your team members figure out their individual Purpose and how it aligns to your organization’s Purpose.
This stage is a game-changer, because when you find that magic space for each employee where they align what they stand for and what you stand for then you see increases in productivity, creativity and a whole lot more.
When you’re ready for that, let me know, because we have built a remote capacity-building tool that is designed to do just that. Cunningly titled Business for Good, it offers a low monthly subscription model so that you can afford to have every single one of your team members take part and reap the benefits.