Winter 2022

24 REAL-LEADERS.COM / WINTER 2022 LEADERSHIP By Carol Cone It’s 2022. Do you know what your employees want? Over the course of a lifetime, we spend around 81,000 hours working. Together, that’s about one-third of the average person’s entire life, and it translates to approximately 10,000 days spent at work. Now, consider the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard, who said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” If we want to spend our lives meaningfully, we must endeavor to find purpose in our daily work. Corporate purpose is defined as an organization’s reason for being, beyond profits, grounded in humanity. I have the great privilege of being the founder and CEO of one of the first social purpose agencies, so I live the power of purpose every day — through my work, leadership, and clients. Purpose Under Pressure, a new report we jointly released with the Harris Poll and Allison + Partners, proves that the influence of purpose is more vital than ever — especially among employees — and reveals that an original and activated purpose is a powerful magnet for talent. But unfortunately, many companies have an inconsistent commitment to their purpose, substantially lessening its impact and value. I find the “Great Resignation” to be a misnomer. I prefer the better refined “Great Contemplation” — because the events of recent years have given us all a lot to think about. For employees, this has led to a rearrangement of priorities and pursuit of higher meaning in their work that places more demands on their employers.​ We know that when purpose is well defined and embedded in an organization, the result is long-term The past few years have taught businesses many hard lessons. Among them, leaders must expect the unexpected, and no issue is off-limits for an organizational response. Consumers have become increasingly skeptical of green and purpose claims, while employees have found their voice — and aren’t afraid to use it. So much has changed during this time, but one thing has remained constant: the power of purpose.​ Do YouReally KnowWhat Your Employees Want? “AS BUSINESS LEADERS, IT’S UP TO US TO BE COURAGEOUS AND CLEAR THAT OUR ORGANIZATIONS WILL BE HUMAN-CENTERED AND STAUNCHLY FOCUSED ON LIFTING OUR STAKEHOLDERS, BEGINNING WITH OUR MOST VALUABLE: EMPLOYEES. ” — CAROL CONE