The impact driven professional

The world is constantly changing, and the ways in which we work are ever evolving. Individuals are adapting their needs, and businesses are looking at new ways to retain talent in order to keep up. In the last three years alone, we’ve seen the demands of professionals change at a pace greater than at any other time in recent history – in large part due to the pandemic, we’ve seen (and continue to see) the Great Resignation, labor shortages, and layoffs in their thousands, particularly in the tech sector. All of this change has led to the development of a new way of working and the rise of the impact driven professional.

Over the past several years, there’s been an explosion of interest in impact driven – or purpose driven – leadership, where professionals are being more vocal about what they want. This is particularly true for Millennials and Gen Z, because companies aren’t aligned with who they are or what they want. Professionals are no longer seeking new opportunities based solely on their skillset and the experiences listed on their resumes. They are actively seeking employment with companies where they can make a difference and have an impact. Research from a Randstad study shows that younger generations want their personal convictions to align with their employer’s, with nearly half of both Millennials (48%) and Gen Z (49%) saying they wouldn’t accept a job that didn’t align with their values on social and environmental issues compared to just over a third (35%) of Baby Boomers.

Our youngest generation of job seekers – Gen Z – are open about the fact that they value authenticity in personal relationships, with 71% feeling they can be their “true self” with friends. Why should they not seek this authenticity in all aspects of their lives? 

Professionals want to work for companies that align with their core beliefs, values and interests – whether that’s working for a company with sound ESG practices; proven diversity initiatives; or CSR programs that positively impact the employees and the communities they serve. Data shows that professionals are better employees when they’re actively engaged in a company’s mission. Employees who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost $7.8 trillion in lost productivity. That’s equal to 11% of global GDP. Something fundamental needs to change.

A clear gap has emerged between employees and organizations. According to a Workvivo survey of 350 HR leaders, over 70% believe their company culture and engagement is strong. Meanwhile 80% of employees report feeling less connected to their company culture. Over half of employees (53%) said a company with an inspiring mission and purpose would convince them to move jobs. This generation is already “hyper-connected”, so how can businesses keep up and nurture working environments that facilitate deeper and more authentic connections? 

By matching professionals with opportunities they actually care about is one way in which professionals can find roles that have an impact, greater social responsibility, and truly align with their core beliefs. Current solutions in the market tend to focus on matching individuals with opportunities based solely on resume skills and experience, and don’t take into account beliefs, values and interests, resulting in mismatch of expectations, high levels of churn in employees and irrelevant social networks and unfilled job openings. 

Another trend that we are seeing is that professionals want to make more informed decisions – information that can help them to easily review a company’s leadership, societal and environmental work, reputation, and impact. Through the creation of a level playing field where professionals and businesses have equal access to the same insights, such as companies’ environmental and societal impact data, and the needs and wants of professionals, meaningful relationships and an equitable place to unleash people’s potential, can be built. Having access to a platform where companies can better promote themselves as impact driven will enable them to better source and match with talent that aligns with their mission, values and culture, and businesses can benefit from higher retention, improved productivity and ROI, and a more sustainable and diverse workforce. This satisfies the needs of the professional and the business as they are able to find opportunities and people that are aligned with their mission. 

The ESG trends shaping companies’ narratives in particular are attracting more mindful employees. The demands of society, investors, governments, and their agencies continue to increase and show greater interest in being purpose driven. This is ‘forcing’ companies to think more about their ESG practices and not just offer box-ticking initiatives. This has an impact on the companies and the people they employ. The barrier for the professionals is knowing about these ESG practices. The creation of a platform that enables an individual to access this level of data is one of the ways that companies will find talent aligned with their values, and professionals will find personalized opportunities that match with their beliefs.

But there’s still a long way to go and the impact driven professional is here to stay. The overall environment and the recruitment process needs to change. There needs to be a continuous effort to move away from traditional recruitment practices to using Artificial Intelligence (AI) sourcing software – using data to meet the growing demand for talent, and the changing needs of professionals. It’s predicted that the adoption of cloud based technology in Human Resource Management (HRM) and growth of AI will grow the combined social networking and software recruitment market to $608 billion by 2025. 

Time will tell how things develop in the coming years, as professionals continue to seek opportunities that give them the chance to make a difference, have an impact, and be purpose driven. We won’t go backwards, we’ll only continue to see greater demand for impact driven roles, and organizations will need to ensure that they keep up with these demands in order to retain and hire employees.

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