The 4 Ps of Purpose-Driven Work: Part 4 (People)

by Richenda Vermeulen
September 28, 2021

You may have heard the old saying ‘Without a vision, people perish.’
But the converse is equally true:

Without people, your vision will perish.

A commitment to people should be at the center of your organisation’s purpose. But what does that look like when it’s harder than ever to find – much less retain – the right people in the first place?

We’re living in one of the most challenging hiring markets of our lifetime. But at ntegrity, we’ve been able to hire some amazing people over this period, while keeping our retention rate high – by connecting people to purpose.

Valuing people in the workplace requires more than lip-service.

No doubt you’ve heard business leaders talk about ‘treating people well’ till they’re blue in the face. Companies parade their fair work policies, promise fair pay, brag about abiding by legal/HR standards and giving their staff a training budget. This is a low bar in 2021 – by all means, clear it! But there’s a bigger picture to consider.
At ntegrity, we value our people because, at the end of the day, we are our people. Your commitment to people should be evident in every stage of the employment process. To get this right, you have to get the foundation right.

Start at the beginning: your employee value proposition

It can be easy to forget the bigger picture when you’re trying to fill seats. But to fill those seats with the right people, you need to take a step back and ask: why should someone want to work for my organisation?

At ntegrity, our core employee value proposition (EVP) is that we help good grow. This is more than just a commitment to our clients’ growth. It’s a promise to our people: this is a place where they can come and grow in their skills, where they can be part of a team that is actively growing day over day, year over year.

Most employers treat recruitment as an HR function. It’s time you start treating it as a marketing function instead. And the best place to start is by clearly defining your EVP – why someone should want to work for you.

Rethinking your job ads

Next to your EVP, your job ads are the most important marketing tool you have for recruiting great people. But too many organisations repeat the same mistake in their job ads. They devote loads of space to what the organisation wants from the individual. But you’re in the marketing game – your job ad needs to clearly communicate what your organisation has to offer its people.

At ntegrity, we recently revamped every job ad to incorporate our EVP, our commitment to every member of our team. To be clear, this is more than just a list of benefits. (Though by all means include that too!) It’s the why, not just the what.

Your job ads need to balance explaining your organisation and the specific benefits by articulating why someone should want to work for you – and how you can help them grow.

Recruit smart.

Even with a clearly defined EVP and a killer job ad, you still have to contend with the most intense job market in decades. You might be tempted to retain the services of a recruiting firm – and for good reason!

The key is to remember that recruiting is not a one-size-fits-all game. Recruiters can be as specialised as the roles you’re hiring for.

At ntegrity, we work with different recruiters for different roles. Some of our favourites include:

  • Beaumont People for roles working with our not-for-profit clients

  • affix for digital performance roles

  • Creative Natives when we need great candidates for creative or operational roles

The right recruitment firm can connect you to the right people to advance your brand’s purpose. But that’s just the start. What happens next – once you’ve found the perfect candidate – is even more important.

Clear roles & goals = clear purpose

It’s easy to forget that people need clarity on roles and responsibilities. A clear job description is one of the most underrated elements of a successful onboarding process.

A job description should do more than list a person’s day-to-day functions. Think of it as a map showing what each role can grow into. It should be accompanied by targets and goals and regular check-ins so you can measure your employee’s growth.

At ntegrity, we use personalised professional growth plans alongside job descriptions so our team members know not just where they are today, but where they are going.

Paying more than lip service to mental health at work

The last couple years of uncertainty and upheaval have sparked a lot of talk about mental health in the workplace. And while talk is good (important, even!), one of the biggest ways you can impact mental health at work isn’t just flexible working hours or talking about wellbeing: it’s providing concrete clarity for purpose-driven people so they know when (and how) to clock off. People need to know what they are and aren’t responsible for. Otherwise they will carry the enormous emotional weight of the cause on their shoulders – on the job and off.

Getting some of these other key onboarding elements right – a clear job description, a personalized growth plan – are essential not just for employee retention, but for helping employees feel valued and safe.

Ultimately, people make or break your company.

Even the highest performing team can fall apart if undervalued. But value is more than fair pay and a budget. It takes genuine care, investment and relationship to train, retain and take your team to new heights. The shift in mindset you have to make is from ‘people are the way to achieve the goal’ to ‘people are the goal’.

More than ever, people are seeking purpose in their work. It’s not just about working for an NFP either. Employees in all kinds of organisations need to know that their skills are being used for a greater purpose – that is the key to hiring and retaining amazing people.
If you’re wondering what it takes to put people at the center of your purpose, reach out. We want all workplaces to feel the benefit of a truly valued, purpose-driven team. Why? Because we know what it feels like to have one.