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A Strong Sense of Purpose is Good For Business

A strong sense of purpose is good for business.

Companies are widening the lens of concern and moving beyond profits to embrace a purpose-driven vision, and they are reaping the benefits of attracting talent and skills that drive success.

“There’s been a seismic shift in the employment landscape and employees today, particularly Millennials, really care about doing good, purpose-driven work and working for companies that are ethical,” said Colin Morrison, Executive Director and Founder of The Career Foundation.

Sustainable engagement is built on purpose. In the past four years, Morrison has witnessed a “spiritual shift,” with Millennials transforming the workplace by setting their sights on blending work with purpose, and giving to companies that give back.

Morrison is at the forefront of employment insights and trends impacting across employment generations – for the past 28 years he has been partnering private sector companies, education and government to benefit and guide job seekers in their search for meaningful employment.

He has seen firsthand how a purpose-driven vision mobilizes and motives people, and develops human potential, in a way that pursuing profits alone never will. “Some job seekers will actually turn down employment if it’s not driven by a distinct social purpose,” said Morrison, of careerfoundation.org.

According to a new white paper released in September by Deloitte and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, purpose is first and foremost in the minds of Millennials, with nearly two-thirds of Millennials polled saying they chose their place of employment because it seemed purpose-driven, while only 20% report being happy in a place that lacked purpose.

Few Millennials believe businesses should be driven primarily by quarterly earnings; a mere 27% felt that profit trumps purpose in 2015, compared to 35% in 2013.

Not only is profit secondary for many workers today, the white paper further reveals that they are also looking to engage with a kinder, gentler workplace that offers “flexible working conditions and work/life integration.”

Millennials aren’t the only segment altering the employment landscape – many of those in their “Third Quarter” are looking to continue working and engage in something they’re passionate about.  “The older work force wants to be active, giving back and connected,” said Morrison, who is in his Third Quarter and continues to be vital in helping other achieve meaningful employment.

The pattern and potential for career paths of those 45 and over has been shifting, said Morrison, and phased retirement is growing in popularity. While some mature adults are forced to continue working because of insufficient funds to retire and the higher cost of living, others are embarking on new career paths, growing their skillset or giving back through volunteer work.

According to a survey by CARP, 46% of people surveyed plan to work past retirement age. There are enormous benefits to remaining engaged physically, mentally and socially - it’s a kind of antidote to aging. A study from Oregon State University recently reported that healthy adults who retired past the age of 65 had an 11% lower risk of death from all causes.

The Career Foundation has recently joined forces with Third Quarter to help match qualified people and their skills to job opportunities together with the Ontario Trillium Foundation focusing on Northwestern Ontario regions.

“A big part of our work will be to assist people in transition,” says Sue Barkman, President and CEO of Skills Connect which runs the ThirdQuarter program.  “People who are transitioning after 25-30 years in the workplace, often find that this is a very different place and need help navigating  the systems.”

Together, they are delivering high-quality and actionable employment services and programs that ensure job seekers and employer partners reach their goals.

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