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Purpose-Driven Leadership Linked to Long-Term Financial Goals for Organizations

Purpose doesn’t just add to an employee’s well-being, it adds to an organization’s bottom line, according to a new Korn Ferry survey of 391 executives.



The survey found that 96% of respondents agree that there is a long-term financial benefit to organizations that make a strong commitment to purpose-driven leadership, with 77% agreeing “to a great extent.”

One of the reasons purpose-driven leadership may add to corporate financial gain is the impact it has on employees, the survey results indicated. Nearly all respondents (89%) believe understanding and embracing the mission/purpose of their organization increases employee productivity.

“Without embracing the purpose of an organization — the motivating force of why it is so important that we exist — employees will become disenchanted,” said Kevin Cashman, Korn Ferry global leader, CEO and Executive Development. “Many will leave, or worse yet, stay and not be engaged nor offer discretionary effort for their organization.”

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (59%) said their personal principal driver at work is the belief that their work has purpose and meaning. Only 11% said pay/financial rewards is their primary driver.

When asked about the main reason they would choose to work for one organization over another, the largest percentage (33%) note an organization’s mission and values, followed by culture (30%). Only 12% said the main reason they would choose one job over another is pay/benefits. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of respondents agree that people at their organization work primarily for reasons other than compensation.

“It’s important that day in and day out, organizational leaders live their purpose and mission. It must permeate all areas, from employee and customer interactions, to a go-to-market strategy and corporate social responsibility efforts,” Cashman said. “Being purpose-driven is not just a ‘feel good’ for companies — purpose motivates and elevates their competitive stance and financial performance.”

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