A friend and successful entrepreneur who recently sold his company shared an interesting prediction with me. Purpose is what motivates most people. The events of 2020 helped many people crystallize what matters most and what motivates them. My friend thinks that companies whose only purpose is profit showed their true colors during 2020, and their employees took note. He predicts an exodus of employees from these companies over the next year or so. Companies that have a clear purpose above profits have built significant trust with their employees and communities with their actions. They are likely to see an influx of people wanting to join them.
On various fronts, 2020 was extreme. I’d imagine almost every company was affected to a lesser or greater degree.
I agree with my friend’s observation. More people are professionally motivated by purpose rather than money. I think this was happening before 2020 but that last year accelerated the trend. I’m not sure if this will cause people to leave their jobs in the short term, but I believe it will be a bigger factor in recruiting going forward. More candidates will judge companies by their purpose.
So, what does this mean for early-stage founders? You can’t build a great company by yourself. You need great people to help you get there. If this trend continues, it could be a boost for companies led by missionary founders. Founders driven by success or financial gain may find themselves at a recruiting disadvantage.