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Two thirds of staff would go the extra mile for an organisation with a ‘purpose’ beyond commercial gain, survey of 4,000 shows

David Woods , 23 May 2012

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A report by global brand consultancy Calling Brands has revealed working for an organisation with a clearly defined purpose - an underlying ethos that goes beyond commercial and operational goals - is second most important to people after pay, ranking ahead of other factors such as level of responsibility and even career progression.

As part of the Crunch Time: the Power of Purpose report investigating the impact of corporate Purpose on employee attitudes, a research study was conducted by YouGov on behalf of Calling Brands. In total, 4,202 people in the UK, Germany and US were asked about their attitudes to motivation at work.

Respondents were asked to rank in order of importance workplace culture, purpose of the organisation, level of responsibility in their role, pay and benefits and opportunity for promotion. Across the UK, US and Germany, an average of 52% respondents ranked pay and benefits as most important,

Purpose was ranked as next most important (18%) ahead of work culture (17%), responsibility (7%) and opportunity for promotion (6%). Interestingly, opportunity for promotion was ranked as least important by respondents in the US (26%) and Germany (33%). Only 4% of UK respondents judged it as most important.

Additionally, an average of 65% of respondents (70% Germany, 65% US, 59% UK) said that working for an organisation with Purpose would motivate them to go the 'extra mile' in their jobs and an average of 64% (71% Germany, 63% US, 58% UK) claimed it would engender a greater sense of loyalty towards the organisation they work for.

An average of 57% of respondents (64% Germany, 58% US, 48% UK) said they would favour joining an organisation that has a clearly defined Purpose.

The report also reveals the views of HR and communications chiefs from multinational organisations including Unilever, Time Warner, Bupa, Santander and Experian, given in interviews conducted by Calling Brands. The consensus among the interviewees was that employees now seek greater and deeper fulfilment from the working day, but many organisations have yet to respond to this recent shift in attitude.

Brook Calverley, senior consultant at Calling Brands, said: "People's attitudes towards the level of engagement and satisfaction a job is expected to deliver have changed dramatically. Our report demonstrates how employees are increasingly seeking intangible advantages from their jobs beyond pay, benefits and career prospects - and how important it has become for companies to act on this change.

"At a time when people are increasingly cynical in their attitudes towards corporations, employers need to dig deeper to establish, understand and communicate the value they can bring to individuals and society. Ultimately, people want to work for a good business; they are ready to believe that their employer has a positive role in society because this in turn reinforces positive self-image. What our report highlights is that now is the time for employers to have - and communicate - a strong sense of Purpose. Those businesses that do will enjoy a huge commercial advantage over their competitors, driven by the superior performance of recruitment, retention and engagement of the best talent, and the productivity this brings."

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