Attracting and Retaining with PURPOSE

Authored by blog artist: Kayla Schnuelle

I just attended a very informative conference hosted by Gallup and the topic was Millennials (ages 20-36). It was a fantastic blend of real stories and research. I am now geeking out over the report that they released, which basically tells me the numbers behind my previous hunches.

I now want to tease out something that is very near to my heart… “Purpose” was the phrase that came to the forefront of many conversations over the two-day conference.

What is Purpose?   #abilitytomakeadifference

I have previously blogged about a need for millennials to ‘make a difference’ and this is a game changer because young leaders are making the decision on where they work, live and play based on their opportunity to have purpose. Millennials actually desire purpose over the money. This quote captures it:

 “millennials don’t just work for a paycheck — they want purpose.” – Gallup CEO

Of course money is important but you don’t get to take money with you in the end. And millennials would rather work on something that changes the world than make $5000 more a year. A friend of mine spoke about turning down a bonus from her boss because she felt like the process was not inclusive of her team and she shouldn’t be rewarded by a bonus when it should have been a team project.

What does this mean for young leaders in rural communities?

Attracting and retaining young leaders just took a new shape. It is NOT just about the bells and whistles of your community. It is NOT about the how much money we can pay people. They need to have good earning potential but this isn’t the soul motivator.

“Attracting and retaining young leaders to your community is about intentionally creating space for young leaders to discover their… purpose — connection — network.”

-Kayla Schnuelle

The key:

Young leaders gravitate to communities where they can live a good lifestyle and where they can make a difference. They need to have options to share their big ideas and be part of something bigger. Give them a chance to create change. Let them make decisions about the future of your community while you are still there to coach them through the process. Allow them the work-life balance that they so desperately want.

As long as your community can meet the basic needs of young leaders and has a few options for recreation, family-time and networking then the rest is about creating a safe space for their ideas.


5 thoughts on “Attracting and Retaining with PURPOSE

  1. Purpose is a key part of the conversation especially where millennials are concerned. I asked many times, and still ask why rural Americans do what they do.
    I have lived in rural Nebraska for three years and I am amazed at the work ethic that these people have. They start work at, to me, crazy hours of the morning and work until the evening. Those that work outside, endure all kinds of heat, cold and wind. They do it to the best of their ability. Then they wake up the next day and do it again. They may not talk about why they do it as much millennials do, but they know why. They know the job must be done and it must be done well. They know some one has to do it. Some one has to feed America. Some one has to make the most of the daylight because no one will do it for them. And for many of them, they love every minute of it. They love to talk about what they have to do over coffee at 5 in the morning. And they love to talk about what they did over a beer at 5 in the afternoon.
    They know why they do what they do. They have a purpose. Their purpose is different to that of millennials but they have it. If we are going to work together with our elders, learn, be productive and receive the baton from them, I think we must make sure we have a broad enough definition of purpose so that respect their way they do things.


  2. I never would have guessed most millennials placed more value on making a difference than money, but thinking back to my time working with many of them, it certainly makes sense! Many of my peers at college have expressed interest in nonprofits and sustainable programs to make a difference rather than more lucrative professions. I think small communities communities offer the desired environment for many of these altruistic millennials as they have the affordability and support of a family and don’t have the saturation of ideas that would fall through the cracks in a larger city. You’re spot on!


  3. I always knew people who wanted to go out change things with their lives, but I never guessed that so many people (a majority in fact) would make changing society or their environment their number one motivating factor. Although it does present an interesting dilemma, if changing society was the number one motivating factor for people aged 20-36, what will be the number one motivating factor for people in the next generation? Will their passion continue to be making a difference? If it’s not will many of teh non-profits we know start to decline? Or will the passion of the millennials carry on into the next generation as they are raised and educated? Personally I hope that “purpose” stays a priority for the next generation, however, I know that traits and demographics tend to be cyclical, skipping generations and often re-appearing after 15-20 years. I think it will be really interesting to see what becomes of the next generation, but as far as attracting people who have just entered the labor force goes, I think that this information will be an amazing tool that could help many employers, either in small towns, big ones, or anywhere in between.


  4. Pingback: “Hopeful Grit” | networkistheleader

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