Employer branding: From paycheck to purpose

No one cares about
their jobs anymore.
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Despite technological innovations and advances, productivity growth has stagnated or declined the world over.

It’s a strange phenomenon considering that great minds of the early 20th century, such as the architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the economist John Maynard Keynes, predicted that by now we would not only be working less but would also be more productive than we actually are today.

So, what went wrong?

It’s obviously a multi-facetted issue but some explanation can be found in Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report.

The report summarizes a wealth of data on how effectively employers and countries around the world are using the human capital in their workforces.

Now brace yourself. It’s time for numbers.

Notably, it finds that 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged or are actively disengaged in their job – while only 15% of employees are actively engaged in their job.

And it’s even worse in Western Europe where only 10% of employees are engaged at work – 71% are not engaged, and 19% are actively disengaged at work.

Let that sink in for a minute.

No one cares. (Look out, HR)

Now consider the implications of a disengaged workforce. If your employees aren’t actively engaged, they likely won’t deliver more than average effort – at best.

That hurts your productivity. And it affects your bottom line. (Look out, executive managers)

Bring back engagement with employer branding

If we are to combat this massive disengagement, something has to change.

We need employer-branding initiatives that unite teams around a real sense of purpose.

Usually, employer-branding initiatives focus on recruitment and retention, but few focus solely on worker engagement. Often, engagement is embedded in the initiative but is not addressed specifically.

The massive disconnect in job engagement shows a clear need for purpose-driven initiatives that employees can get behind. Employer initiatives with no other agenda than to boost job engagement and satisfaction.

Activities that provide direction, unity, and ultimately, a sense of purpose.

To shift the focus from paycheck to purpose – and build a workplace culture that delivers this unequivocally.

Currently, the lack of engagement represents a stunning amount of wasted potential. Especially given that when compared with business units in the bottom quartile of engagement, those in the top quartile realize improvements in the following areas:

Simply put, higher engagement is a real and tangible business driver.

This transforms the concept of employer branding from isolated HR and Marketing activities to a concrete business tool that helps increase productivity – and ultimately, revenue. (Look out, board of directors)

The simple, little difference

While certainly thought-provoking in itself, the Gallup report holds one insight that is perhaps even more shocking than the low engagement.

In their survey, the statement that best separates enthusiastic, high-performing workers from low-performing, miserable ones is this:

“There is someone at work who encourages my development.”

A simple, but powerful difference. One that carries immense impact.

And with a lurking recession on the horizon, engagement is in higher demand than ever. To generate more productivity from fewer hands.

Sometimes, all it takes is that someone notices you. Other times it requires a sense of purpose and union. Either way, the impact is real.

If you feel part of something bigger and more profound, it can lead to high levels of engagement, creativity, and willingness to partner across uncommon functional and product boundaries.

So, it’s time to shift the focus from paycheck to purpose. And strategic employer branding is now more crucial than ever in successfully achieving this fundamentally important goal.