As we move into a new world of work where compassion, innovation and sustainability matter more than financial results for many customers, purpose now functions as a measurement of a company’s success. Organisations driven by a clear, strong purpose benefit from higher productivity and growth rates, along with a more satisfied and engaged workforce that stays with the company for longer.

In our research, we found that a large number of contractors expect their clients to have a clear purpose or mission in order to feel fulfilled at work.

How important is it for you to be connected to a client’s purpose or mission?

With the overwhelming majority of contractors finding connection to their clients’ mission to be important or highly important, having a clear purpose has never been more essential to a company’s success. Beyond simply fulfilling a job, IT and digital contractors want to know that they are contributing to something greater and having a positive impact on their clients’ customers.

The sense of achievement that comes with delivering outcomes that add value to people’s lives and making a meaningful difference to a project is a major driver of motivation for the contractors and freelancers we surveyed. This means that employers looking to keep their contingent workforce engaged will need to make purpose an integral part of their strategy in the years to come.

87% important

2% unimportant

11% neither

Industry focus

The industry where this was felt most important is within the Government / Public Sector, with 59% of digital contractors emphasising the high importance of connecting with the organisation’s purpose or mission.

What is the main thing you need to feel fulfilled at work?

As we’ve seen above, contributing to a client’s mission or higher purpose is highly important to IT and digital contractors. In fact, it came out as the number one factor needed to feel fulfilled at work, closely followed by development opportunities and a sense of connection with colleagues. (Interestingly, a wide number of respondents also said “all of the above”, showing that companies should provide varied support to their contractors rather than focusing on just one approach.)

Contractors want to know they’re contributing to your company’s goals and positively impacting your business strategy. A hugely important part of providing this sense of fulfillment is communicating effectively with your contingent teams, providing regular feedback and opportunities for contractors to understand just how valued their contributions are.

37% A clear purpose/mission

21% Growth & development opportunities

20% A sense of belonging

15% Recognition of progress/achievements

7% Other

Industry focus

Interestingly, the industry that nominated a clear purpose or mission as the dominant factor in feeling fulfilment was FMCG / Retail. with 46% of respondents choosing this answer. Government / Public Sector came out on top at 20% for ‘a sense of belonging / connection with colleagues’. 26% of contractors working within the Internet of Things felt strongly that ‘growth and development opportunities’ were needed for fulfilment and the Media/Digital sector topped ‘recognition of your progress and achievements’ at 19%.

Of the 6% that answered ‘other’, the common responses included:

Interesting and challenging work.

A sense of knowing my work / contribution is important and valued.

Resources to be available to enable me to succeed.

Making a significant difference.

Achieving positive change.

According to the Deloitte report, 44% of their respondents reported that feeling aligned to the organisation’s purpose, mission, and values and being valued for their individual contributions was the biggest driver of belonging at work. Our internal research at Talent also aligns with this theory.

Advice for employers

Making sure your contractors realise that their hard work is contributing towards a bigger purpose can have a hugely valuable impact on their motivation and productivity. In fact, research has shown that improving the connection employees - both permanent and freelance - feel with your company’s purpose will lead to increased profitability.

Ways to help your contractors feel connected to your company’s mission include:

Share the vision

Including them in discussions about your purpose and mission, and clearly communicating it to them when they join a project.

Express yourself

Communicating about the positive impact your company’s products or services have on your customers.

Let them know

Giving contractors regular feedback to remind them how important and valued their contributions are.

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