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Fostering a purpose-driven team and accelerating growth

Why purpose is key to attracting and retaining passionate talent

There’s no greater force than a team of passionate people united behind a common purpose.

These are the people that fuel innovation by continuously striving to do better because they understand how your business’s growth aligns with their values. Purpose connects the dots between the individual and the larger organization, attracts talent that wants to help you succeed, and makes it easier to overcome hurdles.

But building a purpose-driven business and culture doesn’t just happen by chance. It requires mindful decision-making and leadership. In my time at Assent, we’ve nearly quadrupled our team, achieved B-Corporation™ certification, and moved the needle on supply chain sustainability in the manufacturing industry. Here are some insights from our journey to help people leaders supercharge how they attract and retain top talent.

Embody purpose every day

Purpose needs to be part of each day at work. Culture is the accumulation of meaningful moments, big and small. How you treat people at all levels of the organization is powerful, and where you focus will look different for every organization.

For example, your purpose might align best with wellness, transparency, or sustainability. At Assent, we created a wellness spending account that empowers individual team members to prioritize their mental and physical health, and we’re continually expanding it to include products from B-Corporations and PFAS-free goods (in alignment with our product).

According to recent research from McKinsey & Company, culture is a top factor when potential talent decides whether to join an organization: “The most talented individuals with the most sought-after skills will be able to continue to explore options to find the best fit.”

To attract younger talent, organizations should “create a strong organizational culture that emphasizes meaning and purpose.” Investing in purpose-driven culture is the winning choice in the competition for the best talent.

Align work and purpose

Passionate people want to feel like their work matters every day, not just once in a while. That’s why it’s crucial that you align the purpose, or “why,” of what your business does, from top-level decisions to individual tasks. When people can see how their work contributes to a shared purpose, it creates a more attractive workplace and ensures team members find their work meaningful.

People leaders should help every team member understand how their role connects to the greater purpose. If someone isn’t clear about the connection, it’s a sign that their job description, tasks, or outcomes needs realignment. Sometimes it may require rewriting job descriptions or educating team members.

Recruit strategically

A purpose-driven culture alone isn’t enough to win the best talent. Businesses also need to foster an engaged and strategic employee experience or HR team. The best recruitment asset is hiring team members who authentically connect to the purpose and can tell personal stories about it outside the walls of your organization are the best recruitment asset.

At Assent, our employee experience team are business partners, not just a service team that finds new hires. For example, the team is actively involved in the larger sustainability community, attends social responsibility workshops run by the United Nations Global Compact, and has helped create a sustainability careers community.

We make it easy for people who share our passion for making supply chains more deeply and durably sustainable to find us and stay connected. And once they do, any of our recruiters can speak to their passion and make that personal connection.

Communicate purpose in job descriptions, onboarding, and any branded channels that candidates engage with. Remove barriers between your marketing team, team leaders, and hiring teams so everyone becomes a recruiter.

The purpose should inform the questions you ask during team member reviews and surveys, which helps with retention and overall brand advocacy.

Don’t be afraid to lead

Here’s a final tip for all people leaders: Embrace innovation and trailblaze within your organization. Your purpose defines the positive change you aim to achieve, often leading into uncharted territory.

For example, when Assent was founded, supply chain sustainability was not a primary focus for many businesses, but now it’s a critical topic.

Don’t follow conventional paths; let your purpose guide you instead. By doing so, you will inspire your team, attract like-minded individuals, and turn your people into your greatest asset.

About the Author

Keira Torkko is chief of staff and chief people officer at Assent Inc. She has more than 25 years of experience leading teams and is an expert in growing champion teams. Her commitment to solving business puzzles through the lens of people and purpose has been instrumental in Assent’s industry-leading growth.