Purpose driven work

Today's talent management strategies must help workers find a sense of purpose, making the difference between average performance and great performance.  


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Employees are increasingly motivated to stay with a company, and even refer peers, if they believe the work they do contributes to a bigger purpose.
Matt Campbell, Managing Director, People & Change, KPMG

Today’s workforce is looking for more from their jobs; they are looking for a way to make a mark on society. Financial rewards are no longer catch-all bait by which to lure and keep top talent, for reasons ranging from generational priorities to personal preferences. This trend toward purpose driven work offers organizations a unique opportunity to refocus their employer brand so that it articulates a social mission that not only differentiates them from competitors, but also aligns with candidates seeking a cause.


Key considerations for helping employees find meaning in their jobs

Learn below why a sense of purpose is an important part of talent strategy and what employers need to do to create a winning culture for their organizations. 

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Purpose driven work
Talent management strategies that include a sense of purpose can make the difference between average performance and great performance.


Purpose can benefit both the organization and the individual

Creating a workplace environment where employees feel their job is more than just a paycheck can provide companies with a number of benefits. Some are intangible, such as an enhanced reputation in the market as being a good place to work. Others can be directly related to the bottom line.

And providing a sense of purpose can do more than just make employees more productive and willing to stay with their employer. A sense of purpose on the job can even lead to healthier employees. 

10% growth


A majority of companies with a clearly understood purpose have experienced growth of 10% or more.

Source: Vesty, Lauren. “Why Your Company Should Care About Purpose"
15% decrease

People with a demonstrated sense of purpose may have a 15% lower risk of death.


Source: Hill, Patrick and Turiano, Nicholas "Purpose in life as a predictor of mortality across adulthood"


While Millennials/Gen Ys are often thought of as having the highest need for alignment to a cause (perhaps out of a natural age-related idealism), the bottom line is that no matter the level of experience, generation, or interest, many people seek meaning in what they do. When organizations prioritize purpose over paychecks, they appeal to candidates who are committed, involved, and intrinsically motivated. To connect with these kinds of people, the purpose message must be tied into talent strategy, not only in recruitment but in also in the organization's culture and employee experience. 



Portraits of purpose driven companies: Empowering employees to be part of a greater cause


Fostering innovation

A supportive culture and open communication are strong competitive differentiators. At Facebook, decision-making discretion is fundamental to its culture. Employees at all levels are encouraged to abide by the company’s motto, “Move fast and break things.”



Sharing stories

Successful organizations know how to promote purpose. Southwest Airlines' cheerful and caring culture is perpetuated by ambassadors who help employees embrace “a warrior spirit, a servant heart and a fun-loving attitude.”




Enabling action

Making a mark on society requires executing on intent. Pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk helps employees fulfill their sense of purpose by giving them 80 hours a year to volunteer and by including community service activities in off-site meetings.



Modeling charity


Some consumer brands are able to establish an operating model that provides both customers and employees an opportunity to participate in good work. Footwear maker TOMS offers a free pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair purchased.



KPMG helps clients discover, promote, and sustain their purpose. With a toolbox of contemporary, relevant research and an experienced team of professional talent management advisors, KPMG can help you build a talent strategy that will give you a competitive edge in this rapidly changing world of work. Contact us today to get started. 

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Lisa Massman

Lisa Massman

Principal, Human Capital Advisory Leader, KPMG US

Felicia Lyon

Felicia Lyon

Principal, Human Capital Advisory, KPMG US

Brock Solano

Brock Solano

Managing Director, Human Capital Advisory, KPMG LLP


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