Does your business operate on a purpose beyond profitability? If yes, you are on the right track, and if not sure, this article will enlighten you on the benefits of operating a company that is purpose-driven. It will discuss why and how HR can contribute in pivoting an organization from being just focusing on profit making but being purpose-led too.
Purpose relates to the very core of what an organization does and the value it generates and to whom it generates it for. According to Forbes, purpose-led organizations develop faster than others. They operate beyond offering a product or a service as their role and they carry out programs that aim at having a social and environmental impact. C Gartenberg, 2021 noted that, in order to become a purpose driven company, it has to begin with a shift of the mindset recognizing that for a business to be resilient, the society must be resilient as well. Therefore it calls for businesses to be established in the well-being of the whole society, which includes its employees, suppliers, customers and communities at all times and not only when a crisis calls in (R Leider, 1998). Leading with purpose involves a strong strategy and empowering the people involved while carrying out the firm’s operations towards a purposeful result even as the business makes its profits.
Some common attributes of purpose driven economy includes;
- Emphasis on continuous innovation
- Delighting their customers
- Solutions based
- Use of agile management processes
- Talent acquisition in the processes
- Understanding and being able to create the future
For all organizations, small or big, purpose relates to creation of a working world that is purpose driven and which goes beyond just profit making and shareholders’ dividends and serves the society as a whole. Purpose leading contributes positively to the business but according to many organizations in the world, employees find a gap between what the businesses actually do and what their leaders say. Below are some of the steps that HR departments of different companies can use to help close this so-called say-do gap and eventually embrace purpose.
Ensure Leadership is Engaged
It’s always vital that Leadership is involved and engaged so as to build a purpose-driven business. It will be more difficult to produce the desired organizational results if the Chief Executive Officer does not live and breathe purpose as he or she leads the others. The HR should therefore ensure that everybody is on board in the purpose mission.
HR should ensure that all the employees understand the purpose as outlined by the leaders on why the company exists rather than leaving them to think for themselves in terms of their immediate roles and tasks. This communication should be clear to all and should be repeated consistently.
Understanding the Sources of Disconnect
Some primary sources of purpose disconnect between employees and their leaders are poor communication and incentives that are misaligned. For a purposeful company, the leaders recognize how important it is to truly engage their employees on the organization’s purpose journey. There exist benefits that are distinctive as they attract talent and encourage innovation as well as navigating disruptions while still making profits. These factors help the business to survive and thrive in the present volatile world.
Connecting the Incentives Consistently
This is encouraged to empower the employees in acting towards the company’s purpose. Research by EY Beacon Institute discovered that about thirty seven percent of employees reasons that their performance is not interlinked to their company’s purpose. About three out of ten of the employees find that remuneration and salary incentives are disconnected to their firm’s stated purpose (M Hadjas, R Kleczek, 2021). This means that such employees would not put any extra effort on behalf of their employers and instead they seek better chances in other companies. Therefore it calls for the HR department to come in and assist their firms in attaching such incentives that connect to their purpose so as to maintain the best of their employees.
Purposeful companies get it right in empowering their employees in living and acting on the firm’s purpose. The leaders demonstrate how purpose is something that is lived, and not just lectured. They do so by empowering them using real world examples to make purpose authentic and act as proof points in conveying commitment through actions.
Measuring what you Treasure
Purpose should be incorporated into the metrics of performance for individual workers. A purposeful company should align purpose and performance metrics together in the overall organizational level. HR should help in regularly evaluating whether the firm is progressing towards its purpose.
Live the Purpose and Reinforce the Message
Ensure that purpose is well embedded by demonstrating how it is connected commercially in terms of what the business does. They should show how their strategies align to their purpose and to ensure it takes shape, purpose should be repeated and reinforced continuously by leaders at all levels. All levels should be empowered and encouraged to embody purpose through being incentivized accordingly.
Therefore, HR professionals can play a great role in assisting the organization in pivoting their goals from only focusing on profit making and shareholders dividends to being purpose-led and have a greater impact on the society at large. They can facilitate this by first identifying opportunities available, implementing strategies, goals and resources and embracing innovation and talent acquisition from their employees as well as seeking new models of cooperation. Secondly they should link the measurement metrics with performance and embrace excellence and strong communication for all levels to flow together towards achieving their purpose results.
C Gartenberg, 2021, Purpose-driven companies and sustainability
R Leider, 1998 , Leading our organizations on purpose M Hajdas,
R Kłeczek, 2021, The real purpose of purpose-driven branding: consumer empowerment and social transformations