In the last 10 years, it’s been gradually harder to attract and motivate top talent with old-fashioned methods like high wages and big perks. Instead, a new type of employee is taking charge in the workforce, and they are looking for something else; Meaning and Purpose
A feeling of opportunity drives the new zeitgeist. People feel they have the freedom to choose, as such, they choose to spend their lives on something that matters. With this, a new category of companies is emerging; capitalistic but with purpose.
Considering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it is not surprising that as our needs are covered, we seek higher purpose. But this new breed of employees takes it further; they are willing to substitute a considerable part of the material wealth otherwise available to them to achieve purpose. Some actively try to reduce their worldly possessions; others have just realized that the big house and the extra car don’t make them happy. They would prefer making an impact.
All around me, I see successful corporate executives actively looking for companies where they can have a bigger impact. As cofounder of Startup Village I am contacted weekly by successful people who are looking for the right startup company to join, even if it costs them half their salary and their company car. They just don’t feel fulfilled by their corporate jobs, they don’t feel like they are making a difference.
Even more so, I see this trend among the new generation that’s entering the workforce. Where top consulting companies with their inherent prestige used to be top of the list for new graduates, more and more now want to be independent and work on something they believe in.
The shift is caused to some extent by the depressing circumstances. Global warming is a fact, wars are happening en-masse, and mindless consumption is making greedy companies and their fat cat executives richer, but the world poorer and people unhealthier. Something needs to change. No wonder people are looking to be a part of the change.
If companies want to attract the best talent and the smartest minds going forward, they need to understand this shift in zeitgeist. They need to be on a crusade to make something better. The opportunities for this are endless and available in all industries; innovative healthcare systems, products with a greener profile or a community approach. The best people are not motivated by money. They are motivated by meaning, autonomy, flexibility and purpose.
Previously, there has been a misconception that ‘meaning’ equates ‘non-commercially viable’, that you have to choose between being good and being profitable. The coming years will show that this is no longer the case. Along with the shift in talent towards meaningful companies, there is a consumer pull for products and services that are responsible. This consumer demand will give these businesses a serious competitive advantage.
The timing is right for companies who understand value-driven business, who actually care. If you’re one of those that have a genuinely worthwhile purpose to share with employees and consumer, 2016 is your year.
This article was written by Tine Thygesen from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.