State of HR: Why you should fill your payroll with Purpose-Driven People

by Aaron Hurst | 0 Comments | January 11, 2017

Who is a purpose-driven person? What do they value? According to Aaron Hurst, these people seek meaning over money, and they can be found in a variety of roles in companies and organizations. Aaron Hurst discusses research done by Amy Wrzesniewski that identifies three types of people in the workplace. The groups range from individuals who view work as a means to an end, with no real passion or fulfillment in their position, to people who seek higher social status through employment, and people who find work that aligns with their purpose. It is no surprise that the third group of individuals perform at a higher quality within their company or organization. Purpose-driven employees integrate work into their life rather than separating the two. The goal is to seek purpose-driven people in your hiring process to improve the success of your company or organization!


Originally posted on Aaron Hurst’s blog. Read the full article below.



State of HR: Why You Should Fill Your Payroll with Purpose-Driven People


by Aaron Hurst

An estimated 50 million people in the U.S. workforce are purpose-driven — they prioritize meaning over money or status.

Contrary to popular perception, purpose-driven professionals are not all teachers and social workers. They are accountants, lawyers, assistants, designers, salespeople, and janitors. They are the high performers regardless of their role at work, as well as the most generous members of our communities.

However, the vast majority of employers don’t design their recruiting and management programs to attract and empower these purpose-driven people. They cut and segment and target people in countless ways but they overlook the one thing that matters most. This overlook of purpose-driven professionals is currently the biggest challenge, and opportunity, for #MyIndustry.

The New Workplace Segmentation

Breakthrough research — including groundbreaking work done by Amy Wrzesniewski, Clark McCauley, Paul Rozen and Barry Schwartz— has shown that people tend to identify with one of three work orientations and maintain that orientation throughout their entire careers, regardless of their profession, industry or function.

Some people see work as a vehicle for material reward, but not fulfilling in and of itself. They are the TGIF crowd, enduring the work week in order to financially support interests outside their jobs.

The second group defines work as a means toward social status, achievement, and prestige. They work to fuel a positive sense of identity and are likely the first to sign up to attend high-school reunions so they can report on their success to their peers. They are ego-driven.

The final group finds the act of work inherently meaningful and rich in purpose.For them, work is the manifestation of their passions and a force for good in the world.

Wrzesniewski and her colleagues found that this third group has higher job and life satisfaction than people with other work orientations have. They also tend to be more successful and higher performers, in large part because they are more loyal and better collaborators.

What percentage of your employees are purpose-driven?

Purpose-driven people make most of their friends at work and seek colleagues who can be like a second family. They see their work as means to help other people and make an impact. They take their work home with them because they are seeing to integrate, not balance, their work and life. They enjoy talking about work with others. They are hungry for continuous learning and challenge. If they were financially secure, they would continue to work even if they weren’t paid. And that is why they don’t look forward to retirement but instead see some form of work being part of their lives until the very end.

What if you had a company full of purpose-driven people?

If purpose-driven people are the top performers and better colleagues, they are also the people we all should want to hire. We should proactively recruit them and screen out the other orientations. We can build organizations of purpose-driven people.

Do you intentionally hire purpose-driven people today?

Here, let’s look at it this way:

  1. If you were selecting someone from a pool of equally qualified candidates, would you pick the purpose-driven one, the advancement-driven one or the money-driven one?
  2. Who would you pick to share an office space with?
  3. Would you invest in a company of purpose-driven people or one with a mix of work-orientations?
  4. If you were a client or customer of a company, who would you most want as your contact?

Many managers, CEOs and investors have already begun to see the importance of attracting purpose-driven employees. They will be the ones best poised to success in the new Purpose Economy.

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