Purpose is powerful. More than just another corporate buzz word, research shows that purpose-driven organizations are more profitable, have higher employee engagement metrics, benefit from stronger brand loyalty, and are better at innovation and transformational change. To put some numbers to it, a recent report from Benevity states purpose-driven companies have 57% less employee turnover, 20% more revenue and 6% higher market value.
At a time when so much is changing around us so fast, purpose can – and should – be the one thing that remains a constant. But to be effective, purpose has to be more than a statement you make; it should be a guide for the way you view and do business. Successful purpose-driven organizations:
- Create a clearly articulated purpose. Simply put, your purpose should answer the question “why does the company exist?” Keep your purpose short and sweet, relevant and meaningful to your key stakeholders. Take the time to ground your purpose statement in research, and make sure it aligns with the brand and culture.
- Educate and engage employees. Employees are your best ambassadors, and ensuring they understand and embrace your purpose is critical to bringing it to life. Take a thoughtful approach to introducing and reinforcing purpose throughout the employee journey, ensuring that employees understand what it means for them and their role within the organization. Purpose is a marathon, not a sprint, and requires ongoing communication, training and understanding.
- Demonstrate authenticity. As noted above, purpose can be seen as somewhat of a buzz word. Employees and consumers need to see you walking the talk. Much like consumers have become attuned to “greenwashing” in the sustainability realm, “trust washing” has also become a very real thing as it relates to purpose. To be truly effective, purpose must be woven into the organization’s DNA.
- Think of purpose as the North Star. Purpose should be the lens through which all strategies are developed, and all decisions are made. If it doesn’t support or align with your purpose, you should think long and hard about whether it’s worth your time and resources.
- Measure and share impact. Don’t be afraid to talk about how you are bringing your purpose to life, both internally and externally. Purpose is a critical factor in building and managing corporate reputation, and people can’t be expected to know what you don’t share. Look for opportunities to highlight the work you’re doing and how it supports your purpose in an authentic way.
According to “The Business Case for Purpose” by the Harvard Business Review, while there is “near-unanimity in the business community about the value of purpose in driving performance, less than half of the executives surveyed said their company had actually articulated a strong sense of purpose and used it as a way to make decisions and strengthen motivation.” If you fall into that camp and want to learn more about how you can articulate and embrace a sense of purpose, contact us.
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