A first-of-its-kind diagnostic tool is helping companies ensure their purpose supports outcomes including talent attraction and retention, employee engagement, and performance.
If you spend any time on social media, you’ve probably seen the memes about companies offering their burned-out workers a pizza party. The employees feign joy — as if a few free slices and sodas will make up for long hours, muddled communication, disengaged leadership or having to commute to the office. What employees really want is good compensation; and then, work-life balance. And they also want to feel a sense of purpose at work — whether that’s a personal purpose or being able to say they work for a company that makes the world a better place.
This should come as no surprise to any C-suite or HR leader attuned to the latest research on corporate purpose. Only 7 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs today believe their companies should “mainly focus on making profits and not be distracted by social goals.” Over the past several years, scores of companies have invested heavily in developing and activating a purpose beyond profits. We’ve proudly helped companies ranging from Campbell Soup Company to Quest Diagnostics do just that. Any wise investment needs to be measured and adjusted over time, though; and until recently, there has been no quantifiable way to measure the impact of purpose on a company’s workforce.
Meet EPiQ, or Employee Purpose iQ. We developed this diagnostic tool with our partners at The Harris Poll after releasing our Purpose Under Pressure report last year. From that research, we learned that 90 percent of employees say purpose helps them feel like they’re in the right place during turbulent times; and 84 percent said they will only work at a purpose-driven company. Purpose Under Pressure also showed that purpose is often implemented inconsistently and not deployed in key functional areas. EPiQ helps organizations identify such gaps, while illuminating areas of strength to build upon to ultimately ensure purpose produces returns across the enterprise.
To lay the groundwork for EPiQ — and set a foundation for companies to benchmark against — the Harris Poll team conducted The Harris Poll/Cone Employee Purpose Engagement Survey. We learned that 68 percent of US 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 — including employees, customers, communities and the environment. Yet, of the 1,500 respondents, just half believe their employers care about anything more than making a profit.
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This research highlights gaps in how employees experience their employers’ purpose initiatives, which should send a strong signal to business leaders that they are losing considerable value by not fully optimizing their purpose. For example, companies whose employees feel “a sense of purpose at work and believe their leaders set clear direction” outperform the stock market by nearly 7 percent, according to Great Place to Work. Further, purpose-driven companies see retention rates 40 percent higher than other companies, according to Deloitte.
EPiQ’s outputs include a detailed dashboard displaying where purpose is performing or falling short. Based on each company’s own segmentation, the dashboard can examine purpose by factors such as role, generation, hybrid/remote status, geography and more. Normative data shows companies how they perform compared to competitors or peers, as well as other industries. All this is delivered in a brief, C-suite-ready presentation, supplemented by high-level recommendations based on our team’s decades of experience in developing, activating and evolving purpose, ESG and employee initiatives.
Ultimately, EPiQ helps companies understand the impact of their investments in purpose related to leadership trust, talent attraction and retention, belonging, performance and influence on decision-making. With this critical baseline, HR and people leaders can understand opportunities for deeper education and behavior change. Wisely evolving purpose to meet the needs of employees can make employees happier, more engaged, and boost performance — all without a single slice of pizza.