Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

It doesn’t matter how cool you think your company is, if people are not engaged, they are going to leave

If there’s not a clear purpose for people to align with, or if there’s no sense of direction, they are just going to leave.

I hear more and more, from and about organisations struggling to retain young and talented employees, in some cases to even attract them in the first place.

In an era where change is the only constant, this clearly represents a major challenge, which repercussions are going to be important in the long term.

One of the main reasons that cause this, is the total misalignment between what the company is set to do, the teams’ visions/goals/targets, and the employee’s expectations; if one of these three doesn’t match, it’s just a matter of time for people to move away.

People not only want a sense of direction and purpose, they want meaning from what they do, that what they do has an impact and can be somehow tangible. Gone are the days were people just sit in a job because they had to be in a job, or because working for a big company was “the way to go”. In today’s economy, there is more that one “right” path, and working at a big organisation it’s just an option. Currency and status have shifted from just money, to flexibility, balance and value.

Moreover, we all probably have heard that this generation (millennials) tend to focus on meaning first and money later; and as paradoxical as still might sound for some, it is true; I have not only heard it, I’ve had those conversations. With this, it is also important to highlight what sometimes comes as a misconception, which is not that money is not important, it is not the only driver.

I’ve found people moving to a different organisation to earn the same amount or just a little more, but getting into a culture that they resonate with and offers them a sense of belonging; where they identify with the company’s mission, and where they feel can contribute significantly more.

It’s not about thinking that you are a great company, it is about taking action and turn it into one, to make it happen. It is about course correction when necessary, but most importantly, to understand that as everything around us is changing, so does people, their interest, desires and aspirations. Is not just about what you think they want, or what used to work. It is about been adaptable. Just as there is a focus and emphasis on the technology and processes and we try to adapt these to the latest demands of the market and the new trends, it should not be different when it comes to people, because is people what fuels and runs organisations.


Believe or not, like or not, that’s not the point; the above is a present reality that many companies are struggling to realise or even accept; but even worse, a great number are failing to adapt to it. Meanwhile, the shortage of skills increase, many leave and we ask “why?” and the gap just gets bigger.

In the meantime, here are some questions for you to think about:

  • Why do people want to join your company?
  • Is it just because of a job and what comes with it (salary, holidays, etc) or is it because they believe in what you do?
  • Do you and your team (consensually) know what is the company’s purpose? AND do you believe in it?

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