Imagine what would happen if every person was connected to shared purpose at work.

Connected to a meaningful job that mattered to them and society at large.

Imagine how much more engaged, productive and satisfied they’d be.

Think of what we could collectively accomplish.

According to , if you think “purpose at work” (the shared sense that your work matters to you, your company and the world) is a nice-to-have but not really a must for success, think again.

“purpose” has a big impact on your company’s bottom line.

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According to recent research from the EY Beacon Institute and Harvard Business Review, purpose-driven companies saw 85% growth in their revenue over the past three years. In the same period, 42% of companies that can’t articulate their do good mission, showed a drop in revenue.

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According to Linkedin research, companies that have a purpose-driven culture have employees who are more likely to be fulfilled and satisfied at work, form strong relationships with their coworkers, are higher performers, and speak highly of their company.

Purpose is a competitive edge – one that makes your company more successful.

The question is, how do you create a mission driven culture and recruit for purpose?

At Talent Connect 2016, Anat Mahrer, VP of HR and Talent Management at TOMS, Leigha May, Senior Manager of Recruitment at The Honest Company, and John Phillips, SVP of Global Talent Aquisition & Partner (Employee) Enablement at Starbucks, shared their approaches to creating a culture of purpose at their companies.

And, they want you to try out what they are doing because it will make the world a better place.

Here are four tips you can use to bring purpose to life at your organization:

Screen for candidates who are purpose-driven and will bring that into your company


As a recruiter, you have the power to change the trajectory of a company. “You can choose to hire differently,” says John Phillips of Starbucks. “Think about how your role can change and disrupt the path humanity is on. As a recruiter, you have a way to disrupt that path” and make your company – and in turn the world – a better place.

How? By choosing to hire candidates who are empathic and driven to do good.

“Statistically, if you think about natural turnover that an organization can have, let’s say it’s 10% or 20%, if you hire primarily for purpose for 5 years, you would totally disrupt the decision making in your organization,” says Phillips. “You have to think beyond just filling roles, and act on behalf of what the world needs from you.”

That means looking for candidates who reference passions and motivations in their profiles or resumes.

Once you hire, make sure that your employees feel part of the company purpose every day

“Our mission is creating a sense of warmth and belonging for both or customers and our employees,” says Phillips.

To keep purpose-driven employees around, it’s important to create a culture they will thrive in and feel a sense of belonging. It’s also important to give them the opportunities to make a difference.

At TOMS, explains Anat Mahrer, VP of HR and Talent Management at TOMS, every employee gets to go on a giving trip, and in addition, every month employees are able to submit an idea for a “Better Tomorrow,” an internal initiative at TOMs where employees get to submit projects for funding to make the world a better place. The winner (chosen from peers) is given $10k and a few days off to make their “tomorrow” happen.

In addition, TOM’s has “culture captains” who work on day-to-day culture in partnership with business leaders.

Share the purposeful work that your company is doing

Another way to reinforce a culture of purpose for your team is to understand the impact that the company is having.

How many futures reimagined have you made happen?

For attracting the right talent, “Your brand and story is most important,” says Phillips. And “purpose attracts talented people,” adds Leigha May, Senior Manager of Recruitment at The Honest Company.

Companies able to clearly articulate their purpose saw significant growth in their bottom line, so once you’ve woven purpose into your talent initiatives, share broadly.

Build purpose messaging into your employer brand to attract candidates that align with your organization. Make sure your website clearly communicates your purpose, as a company’s values, mission and visions are the first things potential candidates look for when they visit your company’s careers page.


You have the choice to bring more purpose to your company

Each of these speakers acknowledges that there is a difference that comes with working at a purpose-driven company.

There is a connected company-wide mentality, and a definite view on how business should be done.

However, even if your organization might not feel purpose-driven now, you can still bring more purpose to your work. It is important and can make a big difference!

As May shared, “Especially in recruitment, you need to believe wholeheartedly in the mission of your company and sell that every day. You’re not only helping the company grow and do good in the world, but making a difference in employees’ lives,” said Leigha May.

“It’s the responsibility of everyone in the company to not stand on the sidelines and be a bystander. Purpose is not just a social cause on the side, it is about every decision, every day, and how you make those decisions,” said John Phillips. “

When John Phillips, the Head of Talent Acquisition at Starbucks, looks at his recruiting team he doesn’t see a group of people who are there to just find the world’s best talent and bring them inside the company. He sees a group of people who are there to lead change.

It’s part of a very conscious effort Starbucks is making to balance profit and social impact (or purpose, as it’s often called).

We can’t just be bystanders to what’s going on in the world…you turn on the TV and you see a fractured level of humanity out there…and we need to figure out what is our role and responsibility in that,” shared Phillips.

For him, this philosophy of making a difference in the world is to open the door to more diverse talent will not only positively affect your company but society as a whole.

To dive deeper into what social impact means for Starbucks and its recruiting team, Phillips recently joined our newly launched Talent on Tap interview series, led by LinkedIn’s CHRO Pat Wadors and Head of Talent Brendan Browne:

Whether it’s investing in your employees’ academic achievement, or providing bridges into your organization to those who may not have the traditional academic background, it ultimately comes down to humanity.

As talent professionals, we have responsibilities to hire and retain top talent in our organizations, but also we have the responsibility to help break down larger societal issues. Youth unemployment and restricted access to educational opportunity prevent individuals from being able to reach their full potential. Talent professionals and leaders can chip away at those obstacles by taking a chance on different talent and investing in the well-being and development of the members of their organization.

For him, this philosophy of making a difference in the world is to open the door to more diverse talent will not only positively affect your company but society as a whole.


Talent on Tap is a weekly series where Pat Wadors and Brendan Browne break down some of the hottest topics, biggest challenges, and most enticing opportunities in the world of talent. Talent on Tap will also give you an opportunity to hear from other organizational leaders, subject matter experts, and thought leaders in the space. Stay tuned each week for the latest.