Today Paul Polman c.s. published their first ever Net Positive Employee Barometer. They surveyed 4000 workers in the US and UK and the results should make C-Suites everywhere sit up and listen. The 60 second round-up:
- Most people want to work in companies that have a positive impact on the world.
- But even though many employees know that their companies are taking some actions to address big societal and environmental challenges, such as climate change and inequality, two out of three say it’s still not enough. They see the ambition gap. They want their companies to step up. Many say the CEO and senior leaders don’t care.
- Employees, however, do care, and many care deeply. Even in these difficult economic times, around half say they would consider resigning if the company’s values don’t align with their own. A third say they already have.
- All of these numbers are higher for Millennials and Gen Z – the workforce of the future.
Paul Polman says: “Forget quiet quitting, we are entering an era of conscious quitting. And the problem with most of the advice being offered to C-Suites on attracting and retaining talent is that it misses the full picture of what employees want and need. Don’t get me wrong: the numerous studies telling us that people want better pay, more flexibility and greater well-being are absolutely right. But, to be candid, shouldn’t this be rather obvious to senior leaders? And what about the fact that, on top of money and flexibility, many people also crave jobs that offer fulfillment, in companies which are trying to fix the world’s problems, rather than create them.
We are living through an unprecedented moment in human history; a time of “perma-crisis”, where pandemics, war, global warming, economic turmoil and social division are, in varying degrees, threatening our stability and future. Younger employees especially fear for the world they will inherit. It should not come as such a surprise that many want to give their time and talents to companies who are striving to be part of the solution. Or that, when their companies let them down, strikingly high numbers say they will walk.
The risks to C-Suites who ignore this should be obvious: if you continue to fall out of step with the expectations and needs of current and future employees, your company will become less attractive, less productive and, ultimately, less successful. On the flip side, companies which step up can unlock motivation, innovation and loyalty. And they can accelerate their efforts to build a more sustainable, more responsible and more profitable business. What we call a “net positive” company, which thrives and delivers long-term value by giving more than it takes.
We identify three key ways companies can do this:
- Show greater ambition on your values and impact;
- Do a better job at communicating this:
- Empower your employees to help you.
For me, this last point is the best insight we uncover. Employees want to be part of the mission to improve their company’s impact on the wider world. Their offer of collaboration is a tremendous opportunity for the CEOs who are ready to act. Trust me, if someone is ready to quit their job because of their values and because they believe business can profit while serving people and planet, that’s someone you probably don’t want to lose. The fact so many employees care is a gift to smart, responsible companies. Now’s the time for business leaders to prove that we care too.”
Paul Polman is key-note speaker at the large congress Purpose Day XL ‘The Road to Net Positive’ on 18 april in Bussum, The Netherlands