50% of Job Seekers Want Purpose, But US Companies Simply Don’t Deliver It

December 7, 2016

Next year is shaping up to be a big one for the workforce, with most companies planning to increase their hiring volume. But here’s the irony -- many US companies are potentially turning off nearly two thirds of job candidates because they are missing a secret ingredient in their message: the importance of purpose.

LinkedIn surveyed more than 1,000 working professionals and 500 recruiters and HR professionals in July. We found that 64.7% of job seekers say that not knowing, or disagreeing with, a company’s mission, values or purpose is a deal-breaker when considering a future employer.  

Meanwhile, 52% of professionals are actively looking to work for a company whose mission and vision matches their personal values. That number rises to 57% for men, and to 59% for those between the ages of 25 and 34.

So what does this all mean?  From our perspective, there is a real disconnect between how companies present themselves and what today’s professionals want, and this isn’t trickling down into companies’ messaging.  Visionary brands who lead with their values or purpose are few and far between, but those who market themselves this way stand to gain more talent and build brand affinity.  

Here are some startling facts from our study:

  • Nearly one in ten recruiters are unable to articulate their own company’s values
  • 35.7% say that their values and mission are missing from their website
  • A little more than a quarter (28%) mention values and mission in job ads
  • Only 18.2% mention them on LinkedIn
  • More than half (55.3%) do not mention values and mission during interviews

Today’s professionals are more aware of how factors like culture and purpose come into play with potential employers -- and they’re using that information to weigh opportunities.

Fortunately, getting this right for companies is not complex, but it will take a shift in their communication strategy, and real commitment to implement it.  Here are a few insights into those who do it right.

1. Employees can easily articulate mission and values.

Employees are a company’s best ambassadors, so every employee should understand the organization’s mission and values. The best organizations assure key executives articulate them often, post them around the office, incorporate them into internal communications, and recognize and reward employees who exemplify them.

2. Communication channels make mission and vision clear.

The first place most candidates go after learning about an open role is the company website, followed by other key marketing properties and social channels, like their Company Page on LinkedIn. When a candidate discovers any of these experiences, they should find information about the organization's mission at the core of the message.

3. Mission and values are front and center in the hiring process.

Whether it’s how they pursue candidates, how they market their brand, or how they position their values in interviews, companies need to clearly state what they stand for and what they’re working towards. Great articulation of purpose helps weed out individuals who aren’t a good fit and attracts people who will embrace the mission, fully engaged.

To learn more about the role of purpose in the workplace, check out our 2016 Purpose at Work report.

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