Why do we do what we do?

The Rare Skills Set have developed a research project to determine the importance of factors that we believe have a considerable influence on people when making decisions about work and lifestyle.

The project concentrates on eight specific topics:
Identity, Purpose, Values, Motivations, Ambitions, Priorities, Influencers and Fears.

If our thinking is right, what we discover will have an impact on what organisations should be saying to engage with their target audience groups.

We’re starting with the 18-25 year age group, involving a wide range of young people including school leavers, those still involved in full-time further/higher education and those in the workplace.

As we roll out the full project over the next few months, we will be focusing on other age groups too, in order to understand if/how people’s attitudes change at different stages in life and career.

We’ll be writing a regular blog post on each topic area as the data builds and generates insights – and we hope that the following short explanation of each of these encourages you to follow the progress of the project.

To reserve a copy of the final findings when published, please email Nick Holker at nick.holker@therareskillsset.com

The topics explained

1. Identity
We could say that we have become obsessed with personal identity – particularly influenced by the ‘celebrity culture’ but there is more to identity than the way we look and what we wear. From an organisation’s perspective, identity is arguably more significant than ‘the brand’, and for those without a strong brand, it is fundamental, particularly when attracting candidates.

2. Purpose
This can relate to both individuals and to organisations. From a personal perspective it’s about having a need to do something that has a discernable and beneficial result; from an organisational perspective it is about the fundamental reason for the organisation being in existence – what drives its quest for success, whether that’s about what it produces or provides, or what it sees itself as there to do.

3. Values
People may not keep the notion of ‘values’ uppermost in their mind, but when asked, it seldom takes long for them to realise that they do have values. These are often quite simple for them to articulate and they also tend to govern their behaviours and the decisions they make around wrong and right. Some organisations also have values – which they state loud and clear – and some people to look to match those with their own.
4. Motivation
People feel good when they are motivated; arguably they need to be motivated to get things done, to stretch beyond what is easy and to benefit from the sense of satisfaction that comes from achievement. They are likely to seek motivation from a variety of sources, in work and in their personal life, and again, there may be overlaps.

5. Ambition
Most people have ambitions of some sort – they often relate to what they want to achieve in life as well as more specific work-related ambitions, broad or narrowly focused.

6. Priorities
Everybody has priorities and they are largely related to ‘age and stage in life’. They usually change throughout life, influenced by factors such as ambition, challenge and responsibility. Personal priorities are likely to play a big part in any decision-making about employment (whether to join; whether to leave; whether to take promotion; whether to change direction; whether to move to another location…)

7. Influencers
We’re all influenced to an extent in our thinking and actions, perhaps more frequently than we may realise: by family, by friends, by teachers, by our manager, by peers, by the media, by events. Some of those ‘influencers’ prompt an emotional response, some help in clarifying thinking around a topic, some assist in making decisions about what to do, when, how or why.

8. Fears
People who are seemingly fearless often achieve success in many areas of their life. That might partly be because they refuse to be undermined by failure – or to acknowledge it as such. But in reality, most of us have fears and concerns that relate to some aspects of our life, if not all the time, certainly occasionally when we feel uncertain or under pressure.