How to Understand Employees’ Individual Purpose

The focus on attracting and retaining talent has been widespread in today’s business news. On a global scale, there have been massive shifts and fluctuating trends in the labor market. For example, a hiring frenzy was observed as numerous gaps in organizations’ workforces were causing burnout among existing employees. Soon after, businesses recognized that they went a bit too far in hiring and had to compensate by conducting layoffs and hiring freezes to cut down costs.

And who could forget the Great Resignation, the global phenomenon where workers began to reprioritize and reevaluate whether their current jobs were worthwhile? 

Currently, attrition is still at higher levels for some organizations. According to a PwC pulse survey, 88% of executives are seeing higher turnovers than their usual numbers. In addition, the survey reported that 65% of employees are currently looking for new jobs.

When we look at the numbers for July, the number of American workers quitting jobs has declined for its fourth consecutive month as stated by the World Economic Forum. However, that accounts for 4.18 million Americans which is still at higher levels historically.

Moreover, McKinsey and Company found that in India, more than 60% of respondents from its study expressed their desire to quit. Those are higher stats compared to their American (40%) and Canadian (38%) counterparts.

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a huge role in this global shift in employee behavior. Workers are burned out from working longer hours while managing stress from the feeling of isolation. Plus the fact that most are working remotely, there is a negative impact on workplace camaraderie. 

The future of the workplace doesn’t seem all too dim though. Businesses have taken note of this workforce trend and have made efforts to start a dialogue with decision-makers on how to mitigate the negative effect of these shifts in the labor market behavior. 

Strategy+Business claims that aiding workers with their purpose will help businesses alleviate the negative impacts of the pandemic toward workers today.

Gartner surveyed more than 3,500 global employees in October 2021 and found that 65% of them noted that the pandemic has caused them to rethink the role that work has to play in their lives. Additionally, 50% mentioned they wanted to contribute more to society. 

With the data presented, businesses need to collaborate with people managers such as global mobility and HR personnel and find methods to proactively counter these workforce trends.

Redefining flexibility in the organization

Flexibility has been one of the top demands of job seekers since the pandemic hit. However, many companies have narrowly defined flexible working conditions within the boundaries of the set number of days an employee can work remotely within a work week.

Flexibility shouldn’t be too tightly defined in this case. Some might opt to have an as-needed basis when teams need to work onsite. Other organizations allow employees to have the liberty to choose when they want to work onsite.

Since employees are prioritizing themselves, companies need to align their workplace strategies with their employees’ career aspirations and growth. It can be as simple as having global mobility and HR teams converse with employees one-on-one on their long-term goals, passions, and desires in life outside work.

Bridging work and purpose

The new generation of the workforce is observed to have more inclinations toward employers who share the same values and principles. Many were found to consider the commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) as a baseline requirement when choosing an organization to work for.

Because each employee has a unique set of personal purposes and goals, an organization has to remain flexible to accommodate all employees. One aspect that recruiters can develop strategically is the hiring process.

There are more cases where discussions revolving around hiring take into account a candidate’s life goals and desired experiences, and how an organization can help support these.

It can be as simple as changing interview questions. Rather than asking, “How are you able to contribute to the organization?” interviewers can ask, “What do you want out of life?” Organizations are beginning to re-engineer their recruitment process and center it with the candidate in mind.

Companies can make more conscious efforts to demonstrate their purpose and culture by inviting candidates to understand how they practice them in the hiring process.

In conclusion, the purpose will play a key role in driving strategic discussions among business leaders as they monitor the changes in the highly competitive labor market. Understanding the behavior of the average modern worker on a deeper level will be a game changer. It is definitely time to change the way organizations handle their talent recruitment and attraction strategies.