Activating your brand’s purpose to attract and retain talent




Huw Morgan

A Microsoft survey of more than 30,000 global workers has found that 41% of them are considering quitting or changing jobs this year.

Oxford Economics estimates that the average cost of losing an employee earning £25,000 is over £30,000 once you’ve factored in advertising the role, recruitment fees and the cost of training up a new replacement. 

On top of the financial impact, the business risks losing its most innovative, influential and productive people and the departure of colleagues, friends, managers and mentors can have a big impact on office culture. 

So what’s behind this talent trend?

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has precipitated a shift in priorities for many workers. Some are looking for a change in career, some want a fresh working environment or to re-calibrate their work life balance. Others are leaving because they feel undervalued, underpaid or burned out. 

These ‘push’ factors will be prompting tens of thousands of employees to consider their career next steps. But arguably the biggest risk to talent attraction and retention in the post-pandemic workplace is an absence of purpose in the employee experience.

In a recent study from Deloitte, as many as two in three millennials said they would quit their job if they sense that their current employer has no clear purpose beyond profit.

Activating a purposeful employee experience

A brand’s purpose is essentially why a company exists. It defines a company’s core reason for being and its resulting positive impact on the world. 

When employees understand and buy into their brand purpose, they are more likely to stay loyal to the company and go the extra mile to further that purpose. 

According to McKinsey’s Corporate Purpose report: “The majority of employees in the corporate world are agitating for decisions and behaviours that they can be proud to stand behind and gravitating toward companies that have a clear, unequivocal, and positive impact on the world.”

Whatever your view of its controversial and outspoken founder, electrical vehicle manufacturer Tesla has a brand purpose that breeds fierce loyalty among its employees.

Tesla’s employees don’t see themselves as making electrical cars, they are on a purpose-driven mission to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”.

And many of Tesla’s staff are so motivated by that purpose that many find it more compelling than the bigger salaries and benefits that they could potentially earn elsewhere.

2 in 3 millenials said they would quit their job if they sense their current employer has no clear purpose beyond profit 

In an often-referenced interview with business magazine Quartz, one Tesla employee explained why she turned down a better-paying job with Apple: “At Tesla, there’s free cereal and that’s it. It isn’t about trying to attract talent with free stuff or benefits, it attracts talent through its core question: “Are you crazy enough to change the world with us?”

Tesla’s employees are galvanised by the ambition behind the company’s brand purpose, which invests their work with meaning.

Of course, very few businesses have a brand with the talent attraction and retention qualities of a company like Tesla, but this should in no way stifle their purpose-enhancing ambitions.

When we work with clients on purpose-driven engagement campaigns, we encourage them to dig deep into their core reason for being and then help them to articulate that purpose in a compelling way.

Of course, their purpose needs to have been present in some shape or form from the beginning. You can’t simply tack a hastily assembled brand purpose on top of an established product or service to appeal to employees and customers. People will see right through that in a nanosecond.

The secret to activating a strong and authentic brand purpose is to shine a light on what you’ve always done with passion and pride and then ensure that your people are given a clear line of sight to that purpose. In other words, you consistently show them the connection between their values, goals and roles and those of the organisation.

Activating brand purpose in a business takes time, persistence and creativity and the spirit of that purpose needs to permeate through everything the business does, from the first onboarding and the CEO’s explanation of strategic decisions through to regular internal communications and employee recognition campaigns. 

But when an employee truly understands and believes in the purpose and feels empowered to play their role, it breeds lasting commitment and loyalty.

Get in touch or read more about our services here.

Huw Morgan
Huw Morgan

Director, Internal Communications

Huw's passion is for targeted campaigns that bring brand strategy and purpose to life from the inside out. Huw has a wealth of client-side experience leading colleague engagement for major brands, including Telefonica Digital, Virgin Media and O2.

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Huw Morgan

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