What is the concept of “purpose” when building a successful employer branding strategy?
January 13, 2021
min read

What is the concept of “purpose” when building a successful employer branding strategy?

Rudi Bauer
Rudi Bauer

In a tough tech recruitment market, where the shortages of tech talents and increasing competition rule the game, it’s important to use a robust employer branding strategy to promote organizational culture and values. The key message ultimately has to transfer into a “great place to work” synonym, and it’s pivotal for winning the ongoing war for talent.

Strong employer brands help companies to compete for the best talent, but companies should avoid talking exclusively about the organization itself when forming employer brands. Employee experience is the opportunity to develop a powerful advocacy program inside the organization. That process starts with finding the purpose of every employee. The statement will make them more like their job, so they start talking out loud about it.

What is the purpose statement?

What was noticeable before, and now very present is that software developers are looking for startups and companies that match their values. And startups do have values! That makes values a good starting point when thinking about creating a concept of purpose.

To define the most desirable company values that can be transformed into the employee purpose, I have recently asked myself a couple of questions: What does a job mean to people? Is it just a place for earning money? 

As children, we all had a dream - we wanted to be a teacher, a pirate, a princess, a researcher, or an astronaut. However, at some point, most of us have dropped out of this dream and forgotten about it. Reason caught up with us, and we did our professional training through schools, formal education, and in the end, as employees in organizations all over the world. The result - many of us have broken relationships with true talents and surrendered to the rational world out there.

Flexible mind, purpose, employer branding

We tend to forget so often that we spend almost 20% of our life at work. That’s more time than we usually spend with our families, friends, partner, or children. What would happen if this large amount of life is aligned with our true talents? Should we make a bigger impact on our economy and our well-being if our job wasn’t just a job? Think of it like 5% more fun, more motivation, and more meaning, or just a little bit closer to the “dream” job. Away from sales, KPI’s, and profit-driven engagement towards our real goals - PURPOSE!

Sometime in the mid-1990s, I started investigating why companies manage to remain successful for decades with products similar to their competitors, while others disappear from the market in just a couple of years. The more I studied, the clearer it was to me that it's due to charismatic management, the clarity of vision and motivation, and the intrinsic engagement of the people in these companies. When people believe in something with a common goal in mind, a force and dynamic arise that go far beyond what is rationally understandable and explainable.

The types of purpose

The purpose is the key to unlocking how we engage with the candidates, get them interested in our jobs, and how we differentiate employer brands from one another. When most people think about purpose, they imagine it as transcendental ways of saying how organizations tend to provide aid to something. It can mean that for sure, but that’s not certainly the full extent of purpose and its power. 

change perspective, purpose, employer branding

We distinctly have 3 types of purpose:

Personal purpose derives from the satisfaction in doing the things that we love or trying out new things and expressing ourselves.

Social purpose comes from bringing people together. It can be the feeling caused by your customers leaving with a smile on their face. 

The societal purpose is about doing something beyond yourself, such as working for a company that takes care of leaving a minimal footprint on the environment.

Before you start thinking of taking another approach to redefining purpose as a part of employer branding strategy, I would like to underline again that the story is not your company, and it’s not the story of what people do at your company. It’s why they do it. It’s their purpose story!

The power of purpose can make a difference in attracting and retaining top talent. Purpose should become part of your next job ad immediately. You can try to lead with the purpose, like telling an unexpected and straightforward story related to success. Force yourself to use fewer terms such as: “we,” “us,” “our,” and more “you,” and “yours.” Also, take a careful look at defining the key benefits of purpose related to your company or startup. Clarity of purpose brings longevity and loyalty. Differentiation will make your organization stand out and to integrate with consumers as well.

When the purpose is defined, let’s make the world of work a better place!

When the concept of purpose is adequately set, every potential or existing employee can decide whether this is the path they want to go with. A “WHY” on the company side congruent with “WHAT FOR” on the employee side creates two pieces of the puzzle that perfectly fit together. It leaves no compromise and avoids comments such as: “I was young and needed money...” or “Thank God, it’s Thursday!”. 

why, purpose, employer branding

Don’t try to signal something your company or startup isn’t. The overall management behavior, leaders, and employees impact the experience and shape your corporate brand and image. 

I have been looking for this perfect match for many years, and it requires reflection on both sides. Companies that stop lying and people who find out for themselves what is important to them and what makes them happy drives the difference in a crowded recruiting market at the moment.

The fight for talents, and especially software developers, has just become! 


5 Steps to Improve your Employer Branding Strategy

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