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Attracting and Retaining Purpose-Driven Leaders in a Changing World

Gertjan van de Groep

In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, attracting and retaining top executive talent requires a profound understanding of their evolving expectations. Candidates, especially those at the management and director level, seek purpose, sustainability, and social responsibility in their careers. They demand more from their employers, including flexibility, support, growth opportunities, and empathy. This article aims to guide organizations in attracting and retaining purpose-driven executives while bridging the gap between perceived and actual candidate needs.

Crafting a Strong Organizational Purpose
Executives are drawn to companies with a clear and inspiring organizational purpose. Articulate your mission, vision, and values, emphasizing the positive impact your organization aims to create. By aligning personal values with the company’s purpose, executives will be motivated to contribute their skills towards achieving meaningful goals.

Emphasizing Sustainability and Social Responsibility
Demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, two aspects that resonate deeply with purpose-driven executives. Integrate environmentally friendly practices, ethical sourcing, and community involvement initiatives into your business strategy. Highlight your efforts to minimize the organization’s carbon footprint, promote diversity and inclusion, and support local communities.

Fostering a Collaborative and Inclusive Work Culture
Nurture a culture that fosters collaboration, creativity, and inclusivity. Value diverse perspectives, encourage open communication, and promote teamwork. Implement programs supporting ongoing learning and professional development to keep executives at the forefront of industry trends. Recognize and appreciate their contributions, creating a positive and motivating work environment.

Offering Competitive Compensation and Benefits
While purpose-driven executives prioritize more than just financial compensation, offering competitive remuneration is essential. Conduct thorough market research to align your compensation packages with industry standards. Consider incorporating performance-based bonuses, profit-sharing, and long-term incentives. Provide comprehensive benefits such as health and wellness programs, flexible work arrangements, and opportunities for work-life balance.

Providing Opportunities for Personal Growth and Impact
Top executives seek challenging and impactful opportunities. Establish clear career progression paths and offer executive development programs. Provide stretch assignments, cross-functional projects, and leadership development initiatives to nurture their skills and allow them to make a significant impact. Empower them to take ownership of their work and recognize their contributions.

Building a Strong Employer Brand
Crafting a strong employer brand is vital for attracting top executive talent. Utilize various platforms to communicate your organization’s purpose, values, and commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Develop an engaging website, maintain an active social media presence, and share thought leadership content. Encourage current executives to share their positive experiences and act as brand ambassadors. Leverage professional networks, industry events, and targeted recruitment strategies to attract the right talent.

Bridging the Gap
It is crucial to acknowledge that candidates now require more from their employers. Flexibility in schedule and leave, support, growth and development opportunities, empathy, and other factors play significant roles in their decision-making process. There is often a disconnect between what organizations assume candidates want and what will actually retain them. By understanding and addressing these needs, organizations can bridge this gap and create an environment that attracts and retains purpose-driven executives. Attracting and retaining top executive talent in a changing world necessitates adapting strategies to meet evolving expectations. Prioritizing purpose, sustainability, and social responsibility, while understanding and addressing the multifaceted needs of candidates, can help organizations succeed. By cultivating a strong organizational purpose, emphasizing sustainability, fostering an inclusive culture, providing competitive compensation and benefits, offering growth opportunities, and building a compelling employer brand, organizations can attract and retain purpose-driven leaders who will drive positive change within their organizations.

About the author

Gertjan van de Groep


Gertjan Van de Groep (1970) is Managing Director at Van de Groep & Olsthoorn. He focuses on General, Commercial and Technical staff and management positions in Industry, Technology and Logistics.

Gertjan graduated in 1993 as a Bachelor of Engineering in Utrecht, then pursued a leadership development program at Nyenrode Business University. He started his career as a Production/Lean Engineer and later as a Management Trainee in Logistics. In 1997, he started as Consultant at Van de Groep & Olsthoorn, the company that his father Wim founded in 1979. Gertjan became Director in 2007. His new set of consulting, entrepreneurship and management functions fit him like a glove.

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