When employers and recruiters list the most sought-after attributes in key candidates, a sense of purpose doesn’t often show high on the list.
That’s understandable. In the thinking of many people, the concept of feeling fulfilled, or having a sense of purpose at work, may seem like a luxury for a select few. Purpose-driven employees are seen as those who seek a deeper meaning from their employment, beyond pay or status.
Recent studies suggest this is an over simplification. Purpose-oriented professionals who prioritize work that matters to them more than money or advancement can have a direct impact on the overall success of a company.
A connection between purpose and profit is shown in research from the EY Beacon Institute and Harvard Business School. In their study, 85% of companies that prioritize purpose showed positive growth, while 42% of non-purpose-led companies showed a drop in revenue during the past three years.
The research found that purpose-oriented workers are more fulfilled and satisfied at work. They are not only more productive and engaged, they also remain with their company longer than their peers.
The Importance of Corporate Purpose
Purpose-driven workers are particularly present in the healthcare field. We had an example of that recently at a Cornerstone Executive Breakfast in Beijing. The keynote speaker, Wang Shuhong, presented The Importance of Corporate Purpose, giving her own company as an example of a corporation that has achieved outstanding success by staying true to its founding corporate purpose.
Wang is VP HR for Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest manufacturer of insulin. Novo Nordisk’s corporate purpose is to eventually cure the scourge that is diabetes while at the present time mitigating the suffering it causes. Nothing equivocal there.
That purpose founded the company in the 1920s when Nobel Award winner August Krogh determined to help his wife Marie. Marie suffered from diabetes which, especially then, can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and death.
Novo Nordisk has gone on to become a truly exceptional and admirable organization. CEO Lars Sorenson is considered by the Harvard Business Review the World’s Best Performing CEO. Notable here is the measurement process: HBR looks at the long term performance and also how the CEO leads the company in furthering its social responsibility.
To build and further a company with a sense of purpose obviously calls for both leaders and employees who share that sense of purpose. For recruiters, this means finding and placing people into jobs and companies where they can drive meaningful impact.
All good recruiters in the Retained Search sector consider this a fundamental challenge.