Onboarding purpose-driven employees
Purpose: hype or norm?
Companies with a clear brand purpose seem to be popping up everywhere. In the last decade, consumers are not only interested in a company’s products and services but also the underlying statement of belief, hope, or pursuit of how a company intends to change the world for the better. Consumers are looking for a higher reason for a brand to exist than just making a profit.
Take a look at Tony’s Chocolonely: they’re now one of the biggest chocolate manufacturers in The Netherlands. Their mission is to make chocolate 100% slave free. Another booming Dutch brand is Dopper, who is “empowering people to choose reusable over single-use water bottles, to protect our world’s waters. Fighting plastic pollution, one single-use water bottle at a time.” And of course, a veteran in brand purpose is Patagonia. Since 1985, the outdoor wear brand has donated 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of natural environments, awarding more than 89 million dollars to causes. Their mission statement is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature.
And it works: purpose-driven companies and brands grow faster than their competitors. Research by EY and Harvard Business Review reveals that 58% of purpose-driven companies grew 10% or more over the past three years, compared to 42% of companies where a clear purpose is absence and showed a lack or even decline of growth.1
However, we should be aware not to use purpose as a marketing strategy. At the beginning of this year, the razor blade company Gillette launched a marketing campaign, “We Believe: The Best A Man Can Be,” which backfired on social media. Their short video had been both criticized and applauded for its attempt to tackle toxic masculinity, which, according to viewers, was “shamelessly capitalizing on the #MeToo movement and practicing 'leftist' politics.”2 The viewer reactions showed people do not want to be lectured on morality by a multinational corporation selling shaving supplies.
Purpose helps employees get successful
When a company has a legitimate brand purpose rooted in all levels of a company and doesn’t function as just an external marketing campaign, it can elevate a company to success. Not only does it speaks to customers, but purpose also has a positive impact on employees. And after all, employees make the company successful. We believe an excellent onboarding can help you put this into practice and support your employees to become brand ambassadors. Here’s why.
1. Goals connected to purpose increase productivity
A purpose-driven employee and team increase productivity and excellent results. According to research by Bain & Company, the productivity level of an employee that is truly inspired by the brand purpose is 225% compared to a satisfied employee with a productivity level of 100%.3
Employees feel more fulfilled when they understand how their role fits within the team and company goals. A clear purpose helps to reach for that spot on the horizon, helping each team or department setting goals that aid the bigger picture.
The onboarding phase is the perfect timing to manage expectations and setting objectives. If your employees know what is expected from them and understand the deliverables within the first 30, 60, and 90 days, it will increase their productivity level. Informed by the brand purpose, set individual goals for your employee, for example, with the help of the S.M.A.R.T. method, during the onboarding phase.
2. Purpose improves retention rates
Employees want more than a payslip, they want to work for a company with a mission. A survey conducted by Salesforce in 2017 among 1500 business customers and professionals shows that 80% percent of them felt companies have a responsibility to have a positive influence on society. They want to make a impact with their work that aligns with their values. And they want to be proud of the organization where they work.4
Purpose not only attracts talent, employees that feel connected to the purpose are more likely to stay. According to a survey by PwC, employees are 2.3 times more likely to keep working for the same employer when they have a strong connection to the company's purpose.5 For millennials, it’s even higher: they are 5.3 times more likely to stay.
Onboarding is all about connection. With a ‘spot-on’ onboarding program, employees can connect with the new company easier. They learn about the (unwritten) rules, the way of working and they understand how their role integrates with the existing culture faster. By helping them build a network in the first months, they feel included faster within their team. Plus the transfer of knowledge increases, because they know whom to contact. This results in an improvement of new hire retention by 82%, according to Brandon Hall Group.6 Including a clear purpose during the onboarding phase is a win-win.
3. Purpose increases employee pride and engagement
Purpose gives context and brings meaning to employees’ work: it inspires employees to know what they are doing it for and provides personal fulfillment.
Onboarding allows employees to put purpose into practice. With a good onboarding program, employees are made to feel welcome, empowered, and supported to do their jobs well. When they have a clear understanding of how to be successful within the organization, they are much more likely to be engaged. 54% of companies with onboarding programs reported higher employee engagement, according to SHRM7, because they are given the knowledge and tools to contribute in less time. When becoming self-sufficient and productive faster, employees see the impact of their day-to-day contributions. Engagement and dedication will grow even more.
4. Purpose-driven employees are your strongest brand ambassadors
Statistics show that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with their company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.8 Starting a new job is a bit like dating: in the first moments, you decide if you like it or not. You only have one chance to make a good impression. So make them fall in love with your company, by giving them support, the tools, the goals and connections to blossom during their onboarding.
When employees are happy to be at their workplace, believe that their job matters and their work makes a difference, they can become your brand ambassadors.
Why? Purpose-driven employees are continually seeking opportunities to grow while creating meaningful relationships with clients, colleagues, and customers. They tell your story in an authentic way because they are intrinsically motivated because they believe their job matters, without needing a marketing budget or made-up campaigns.
Onboarding your employees right, and working with a sense of purpose boost employee productivity, engagement, profitability, and eventually increasing retention rates and higher revenue.
To attract and retain purpose-driven employees, your organization must be purpose-driven itself. Purpose needs to be actively embedded in the whole company, not just serving as a temporary marketing campaign. It starts from within.
In the end, brands are all created from the same core: the employees who build them. By giving them the onboarding experience they deserve and giving them a sense of purpose should be a company's biggest priority.
Learn from the best in the business
How do companies like Tony’s Chocolonely, Pride Amsterdam, The Dutch Royal Airforce, Zoku, Zalando and Euler Hermes do their onboarding to attract and retain their purpose-driven employees?
Speakers from these companies (and more) will share their best practices about purpose-driven employees and onboarding at Onboard.Amsterdam 2019, hosted by Appical. Check out the program and buy your tickets!
1: EY - The Business Care For Purpose, 2015
2: The Conversation - Why Gillettes Campaign Against Toxic Masculinity Missed the Mark, 2019
3: Think Parallax - 5 Reasons Why Purpose Matters To Employees, 2018
4: Frank News - Purpose: hype of nieuwe norm? Wees niet de volgende Kodak, 2019
5: PwC - Putting Purpose to Work Survey, 2016
6: Brandon Hall Group - The True Cost of a Bad Hire, 2015
7: SHRM - Onboarding Key to Retaining, Engaging Talent, 2015
8: SHRM - Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Effective Onboarding, 2017