Are you listening to young professionals and to what they value?

Over the past weeks and months, I have had the privilege of speaking with a number of young professionals actively seeking to change roles and especially environments, in search of a culture that nurtures sustained personal growth and an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution.

The conversation around purpose-led organizations is gathering momentum – and needs to be anchored in reality.

Many companies are talking about the importance of purpose and in the same way that “green-washing” has become impossible in light of the scrutiny organizations are exposed to, talking about purpose with no visible actions or commitments will no longer cut it. Purpose is not a goal to be met, or an objective to be achieved. It defines what we are up to and“for what” do we exist. I am asked that question more and more often in the very first interviews. Young professionals are looking to contribute to organizations that operate true to their purpose and where they will find meaning in their work.

Do we have the practices in place to value, support, challenge, and encourage to grow our high achievers?

In my conversations, I am struck by the research done by candidates actively seeking information and signs that the organization will provide an environment where they can perform at their best. While willing to fully engage in the workplace, the question of work-life balance is also top of mind, maybe even more so in a new “Covid-shaped” world where the boundaries have been blurred.

Peer reviews, testimonials, social media publications are scrutinized to gather reliable evidence and are compared to what a company publishes in more institutional formats. Diversity of profiles and thinking are also often mentioned as key conditions for the organization they want to be a part of. Candidates have referenced the research done on leadership and employee profiles, looking for the proof points behind the communication: where are diversity and inclusion demonstrated in what they can see and hear about an organization that they may consider joining?

In what some professionals call the “war for talent,” we all need to ask ourselves: how are our actions aligned with our stated intentions? How are the multiple interactions with candidates and future hires demonstrating that your organization has what they increasingly value?

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