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A research-based addition to the CCO’s toolkit


Purpose can be one of a company’s most significant investments. Yet, few organizations have a precise method to measure the impact of purpose on their key stakeholder, employees. As we believe purpose is vital “connective tissue” for an organization’s overall strategic direction, especially with employees, we partnered with The Harris Poll to identify gaps and opportunities in purpose activation to ensure powerful returns across the enterprise. As the refrain goes, what gets measured gets done, and keeping employees engaged, and inspired is good for business.

  • Companies whose employees feel “a sense of purpose at work and believe their leaders set clear direction” outperform the stock market by nearly 7%.

  • Purpose-driven companies see retention rates 40% higher than other companies.

  • Losing good talent is a significant business risk: Across the US, businesses are losing an estimated$1 trillion each year to voluntary employee turnover.

Most importantly, at a time of economic uncertainty, uncovering insights like these help companies do more with less by effectively leveraging assets already in place. Wendy Salomon, Managing Director, Reputation & Corporate Strategy at The Harris Poll, calls purpose an “essential ingredient,” and an element which “supersedes so many other things in the reputation space” today.

While laying the groundwork for this tool the Harris team conducted national employee research, which uncovered a few key insights that help uncover employee expectations:

  1. Employees continue to expect companies to “do good.” Sixty-eight percent of U.S. employees believe it is not enough for companies to just provide quality products and services; they have a responsibility to have a positive impact on society as a whole, including employees, customers, communities, and the environment.

  2. Yet, only 50% believe their employers care about more than making a profit. This is creating a significant “meaning gap” for companies as nearly seven in ten employees want their companies to embrace social and environmental challenges. This is why the CCO’s role is critical to influence their “C” suite to engage in environmental and social issues in an authentic and long term manner.

  3. Leadership cues are critical: Fifty-nine percent of employees felt their company leaders act consistently with their purpose, and 63% believe leadership genuinely believes in that purpose. Most important, 59% of employees say their leaders make decisions guided by purpose, which is critical to establish the authenticity and efficacy of purpose.

  4. Talking the talk, walking the walk:In addition to acting in line with purpose, employees place value on how (and how often) purpose is communicated. This is where the CCO plays a vital role. Just under 60% of employees say their leaders clearly communicate their organization’s purpose to employees. Among companies with a truly authentic, activated purpose, that 40% is a big gap between employees who are and are not receiving clear messages about the impact of purpose. Ultimately, this research led us and The Harris Poll to develop EPiQ, or Employee Purpose iQ. EPiQ helps organizations understand the impact of investments in a critical business asset: their purpose. With 84% of employees saying they will only work at a purpose-driven company, leaders can now understand opportunities for deeper engagement, belonging, and loyalty with greater precision. Wisely evolving purpose to meet the needs of employees can enhance their satisfaction, ignite innovation, build greater commitment, and boost performance—while helping the overall business thrive.

Ultimately, this research led us and The Harris Poll to develop EPiQ, or Employee Purpose iQ. EPiQ helps organizations understand the impact of investments in a critical business asset: their purpose. With 84% of employees saying they will only work at a purpose-driven company, leaders can now understand opportunities for deeper engagement, belonging, and loyalty with greater precision. Wisely evolving purpose to meet the needs of employees can enhance their satisfaction, ignite innovation, build greater commitment, and boost performance—while helping the overall business thrive.

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