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Retain Employees By Building A Purpose-Driven Workplace

Creating a purpose-driven workplace fosters employee belonging, pride, and connectedness, all of which contribute to employee retention.

An employee is hired with four weeks of vacation, unlimited sick days, a competitive salary, and the ability to work remotely. Right off the bat, you may be thinking “this is the golden formula for retaining employees.” They are fairly compensated, have the flexibility to work from home, and can prioritize a healthy work-life balance with a month off from work. 

While the benefits look good on paper and, of course, can be one of many deciding factors when new talent is evaluating a job position, these benefits aren’t what will keep an employee at an organization in the long term.

It is the enriching and purposeful work—stemming from purpose-driven workplaces that integrate a social mission into their daily operations—that leads to a 40% higher level of workforce retention.

Let’s further explore how building a purpose-driven workplace will retain employees:

Employees will feel a sense of belonging

Employees yearn to feel a sense of belonging, which occurs when they can bring their authentic selves to work and be accepted by their colleagues for that version of themselves. 

Company volunteering, an initiative rooted in a purpose-driven workplace, creates a safe and comfortable environment where employees can bring their authentic selves to work. For example, suppose a company organizes a clothing drive at a women’s shelter where 40% of its employees participate. 

Let’s look at how several characteristics that may make up an employee’s authentic self can be exhibited on this volunteer day:

Kindness: As this volunteer day takes place at a women’s shelter, employees can collect, sort, and distribute clothing to local women in need—an act that displays kindness.

Supportiveness: Employees are lending a helping hand by helping to ensure clothing donations will reach the right people—an act that provides physical support.

Empathy: As employees are distributing clothing in person to local women in need, they will have the opportunity to recognize and understand the feelings of others through conversation—an act of empathy.   

Due to the nature of a company volunteer day bringing together many employees, these qualities that make up an employee’s authentic self will have a chance to get noticed and accepted by their colleagues. And when employees feel a high sense of belonging, they have a 34% higher intent to stay with a company. 

Employees will feel a sense of pride

When employees feel like they are making a difference and can see that their work matters, they feel a sense of pride. Happy employees don’t just take pride in the work they do inside the office, but also in the work they do outside the office (that is supported by their employer).

In a purpose-driven workplace, the act of donating to charities and nonprofits is encouraged. Employees have the opportunity to donate to a charity or nonprofit that is selected by their organization, or they can choose a specific cause that means a lot to them to donate to.

When an employee makes a donation to their charity of choice, it’s not just about giving money; rather, it’s about making a difference. That employee knows that his or her contribution will go toward helping others and making the world a better place. And when employees can comprehend that their donation will have a lasting impact, they will take pride in the philanthropic work they have done.

When an employee takes pride in the company they work for—which stems from their achievements—they are 2x more likely to stay with that company for a longer time.

Employees will feel connected to one another

What is one element that helps employees feel connected to one another? It isn’t the enablement of technology, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, that helps employees feel connected: it is shared values. Values of commitment, dedication, and empathy, which when equally expressed by a group of employees, have the ability to bring them closer together.

A purpose-driven workplace that encourages employees to do good (and do good together) through acts such as fundraising and volunteering creates an environment where employees can connect over shared values.

For instance, a group of employees who all value determination (defined as being committed to achieving goals), can bond over this shared value through fundraising together. Let’s look at how:

  1. Employees who are passionate about helping animals could set up a virtual fundraiser for an animal shelter.
  2. Employees agree on a fundraising goal they want to reach by a certain date.
  3. In the process of trying to achieve that fundraising goal (which includes reaching out to their personal networks for donations), the dedication of each employee shows.
  4. This shared value of dedication naturally becomes the glue that further bonds these employees together.

Employees who feel more connected with people in their networks are 1.5 times more likely than their peers to report being engaged at work. And engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organization.

With 81% of employees stating they want a job that doesn’t leave them feeling empty and unenthusiastic, creating a purpose-driven workplace that helps employees feel like they are contributing to society’s goals will make them feel a sense of belonging, pride, and connection— all factors behind why your employees will stay longer.

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