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Purpose, Not Perks, Drives Employee Loyalty

Purpose, Not Perks, Drives Employee Loyalty
Credit: Kim Howell/Shutterstock

Want to keep your best employees around? A high salary and workplace perks won't do as much good as a sense of purpose, recent research finds.

According to a survey by HR software company Cornerstone OnDemand, employees are looking for career satisfaction and a healthy work-life balance above all else. In fact, many are willing to make significant changes and sacrifices in order to find fulfillment within their career.

Specifically, 89 percent of employees would consider a lateral move (one at a similar level and pay grade), 77 percent would relocate and 55 percent of employees (including three-quarters of millennials) would change careers altogether. Simply put, employees devote themselves to companies that ensure growth opportunities and new experiences. [See Related Story: For Millennials, Company Culture Means (Almost) Everything]

This emphasis on career satisfaction is indicative of a dramatically changing workforce, said Kim Cassady, vice president of talent for Cornerstone OnDemand. In an employee-driven job market, workers have no problem leaving a company that no longer suits their personal and professional goals. Therefore, Cassady noted, it is important for companies to recognize the unique desires and needs of their workforce.

Cassady advised employers to "stay ahead of, and adapt to, these changes by creating visibility into career paths that generate professional challenges and personal satisfaction." Employers must listen to their workers in order to better understand their personal needs and ambitions, Cassady said.

Kirsten Helvey, chief operating officer of Cornerstone OnDemand, expressed similar views.

"Employees are the frontline advocates for any organization — they truly make or break a business," Helvey said in a statement. "That's why it's so important for employers to understand what motivates them. What we're seeing across our client base is that the most successful brands are those that champion their employees and give them opportunities to realize their full potential."

The survey was based on the responses of 2,000 Americans ages 18 and over who work full time, and 546 human resources managers at companies with a minimum of 50 employees.

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela has always loved words. When she isn't working as a Purch B2B staff writer, she's writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. The only time Sammi doesn't play it safe is when she's writing. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.