When companies find that sweet spot where the “we” overlaps with the “me,” they, their employees, and even society greatly benefit. But that’s happening only 44 percent of the time right now.
When a company's purpose is aligned with its employees' purpose, good things happen.
44% of respondents say their company's purpose is activated and aligned with them personally. In this "sweet spot" quadrant, respondents say:
- The company's purpose is activated — e.g., purpose is aligned with strategy and business activities, and leaders' decisions are consistent with it.
- The company's purpose is aligned with employees' sense of individual purpose — e.g., company's purpose matters to employees, who see how their work contributes to it and who feel accountable to act in line with it.
In the sweet spot quadrant, benefits include:
- Employees are more loyal, engaged, and willing to advocate for their company.
- Employees are more likely to say that their companies' purpose is having a positive impact on customers, employees, organization, and society.
|Respondents say||The company's purpose is activated and aligned with them personally.||The company's purpose is activated. However, the company's purpose is not aligned with employees' sense of individual purpose.||The company's purpose is not activated. However, the company's purpose is aligned with employees' sense of individual purpose.||Company's purpose is not activated and not aligned with them personally.|
|Distribution of respondents1||44%||12%||11%||32%|
|Employee's intent to stay||87%||58%||79%||41%|
|Employees willing to advocate2||93%||76%||80%||45%|
|Positive impact on customers||96%||96%||92%||73%|
|Positive impact on employees||95%||79%||81%||47%|
|Positive impact on organization||95%||88%||78%||55%|
|Positive impact on society||91%||74%||78%||51%|
1Figures may not sum to 100%, because of rounding.
2Measured as an employee's willingness to recommend the company to others.
Source: McKinsey Organizational Purpose Survey, October 2019 (n = 855 employees of US organizations with the identified purpose)
McKinsey & Company
To read the article, see “Purpose, not platitudes: A personal challenge for top executives,” December 3, 2020.