Achieving the benefits of being a purpose-led company by putting into practice your company purpose is the best thing you can do in 2022 and beyond. Undoubtedly that is a bold statement, but look at the challenges on the horizon.
Employers Call To Action
Business confidence may be improving, but much has changed in the last three years. There may be challenges you have yet to overcome, that affect your company.
For example, since the Covid-19 pandemic employees are focusing on taking back control of their careers. In light of the situation, people want a better work/life balance, more flexibility, and a greater sense of purpose. Consequently, these three criteria for employees means that talent is on the move and seeking more purpose in their work.
Talent on the move: Workers who plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months:
Source: The Learner Survey 2022 Report
Furthermore, concerns about the climate change crisis and the social justice has surged. People are increasingly passionate about these issues, affecting who they buy from, work for, partner with, and supply.
Most compelling evidence comes from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) recent report. Most important is the overwhelming majority of scientists, countries, world leaders and governments agree the following:.
"Climate change is a massive problem that threatens to make life much worse for billions of people."
How Does This Affect My Company?
Every single one of us will make a choice, whether we realise it or not.
- Either to do nothing; Carry on not doing anything extra to to become an employer of choice, or to adapt and tackle climate change, maybe thinking “there’s nothing I can do", "it’s the politicians fault", “I don't know where to start", etc.
- Or to do something; Do more than before to provide more flexible or hybrid working, and tackle climate change, because you want to do the right thing,
So, the challenge is: do nothing or to do something?
Increasing numbers of customers and employees prefer to be associated with companies that care about people and the planet.
Employees are seeking more flexibility, meaning and purpose. What you do as an employer matters. Not just for employees, but for the betterment of your company's future as well as for other people.
The benefits of being a purpose-led company will come from your company purpose and its implementation. So let's explore what is involved.
What Is Purpose?
Purpose may be defined as:
"The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists."
So What Is Company Purpose?
A company purpose (and your statement) explains the reason (or reasons) you exist. Specifically, it is about why you exist and why anyone should care.
The process involves some deep thinking and contemplation about your company identity, brand, and what you stand for. Also, it is about the value you create for the benefit of others.
"Men exist for the sake of one another."
Marcus Aurelius // Roman emperor 161 to 180, and philosopher.
Company purpose drives your value creation, competitive advantage, and economic performance. It places focus on knowing exactly why you do what you do for the benefit of others, so that they buy from you to achieve the outcome they want. It is an emotional connection based on shared values and beliefs.
Furthermore, when you demonstrate that you care about people and the planet and the positive impact you make, people will share your story even if they are not customers. So, you have self-fulfilling PR to promote your company.
To achieve the benefits of being a purpose-led company, deciding your purpose may determine some business strategy changes. Certainly, you need to ensure the reasons you exist and what you stand for are implemented.
Why Should I Care?
Why care about gaining the benefits of being a purpose-led company? Simply because of the unprecedented groundswell of public opinion and market forces that you can no longer ignore. Consequently, the need for you to have a company purpose has never been more vital. For example:
- Accelerated expectations to address causes of climate change.
- The upsurge of activity to advance social justice.
- Repercussions of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The above list is just three of the many reasons you probably should define or refine your purpose. Thereafter, ensure that your processes and actions are consistent with your public statement.
By NOT doing so, your business is increasingly at risk of:
- Brand damage.
- Being overtaken by competitors.
- Reduced employee attraction and retention.
What Are The Benefits Of Being A Purpose-Led Company?
The benefits of being a purpose-led company are shared by companies who have one unifying thing: they successfully outperform their competitors. Their Employees' sense of purpose comes from knowing that they are contributing, in part, to helping make their customers' lives better. In addition, they are helping make good things happen for less fortunate people or the planet.
Having a company purpose can build value, increase resilience, enchant your customers, and enhance your competitive advantage. Also it is a vital requirement for employee morale and productivity, and a critical success factor for sustainable growth.
Research reveals that individuals demand more from the brands and companies they buy from and work for. In other words, it is likely your audience (internal or external) expect more from you.
Five Key Benefits
Authentic purpose-led companies use their company purpose to:
- Increase innovation and profitability.
- Achieve competitive advantage and greater recognition
- Gain a stronger brand
- Enhance ability to attract top talent.
- Improve worker retention.
5 Benefits A Purpose-Led Company Can Achieve
1. Employee Attraction
2. Worker Retention
Approx fifty percent of workers and seventy five percent of millennial workers would take a pay cut to work for an environmentally conscious company.
3. Greater Recognition
4. Stronger Protection
5. Improved Performance
A ten percent improvement in being connected with employees leads to...
12.7% decline in safety incidents
8.1% decline in staff turnover
4.4% increase in profit
Company Purpose Is More Than a Few Words
It would be relatively easy to say that you are a purpose-led company in your marketing. However, your company purpose must permeate throughout your company and determine how your people act at all levels.
To clarify, for your company purpose to be genuine, you should be purpose-led in all aspects of what you do.
Your company purpose needs to be authentic and resonate with individuals both within your company and externally. Moreover, it should be evident to people through your business decision making, products and services, behaviour, and actions.
By working towards achieving the benefits of being a purpose-led company, you will be giving people something to believe in, work towards, and contribute. Besides, in today's organisational world, a robust and unifying company purpose has a strong return on investment.
Can an SME achieve the benefits of being a purpose-led company?
Of course, this isn't just about large companies. Unquestionably, company purpose and being purpose-led is not just for corporate organisations. In spite of this however, many small and medium-sized companies have been ignoring this opportunity for too long.
For example, do you have customers and employees? If so, you should not ignore the chance to achieve the benefits of being a purpose-led company!
Do you have competitors? If so, do you want them overtaking you, or would you prefer to overtake them?
If you're going to attract and keep the talent you need, who want to work for a more purposeful company, this should be with you.
What Is Involved?
So, how do you make sure that your company is purposeful and not simply using more jargon that your customers will see right through?
A genuine company purpose will seamlessly flow through your organisation. It must be your company's reason for being, your very existence, and align with the experience of dealing with your company. To begin with, ensure that it aligns with your why and your values. Also, take stock in why you matter. Once you have been through the process, live and breathe it. Moreover, demonstrate great brand experiences so that people genuinely encounter it in all that you do.
When you lead with purpose, your customers and employees will be more engaged and loyal to your brand. Furthermore, they will feel more invested in what you stand for. Equally, your competitors will wonder what has happened and why they are falling behind.
How To Write a Company Purpose to Gain the benefits of being a purpose-led company
As stated above, a good starting point is to know your why.
This diagram shows two different thought processes. In the event that the path shown by the red line is taken, companies know what they do (e.g. they make or create and sell things or services). Additionally they determine the how (the processes involved). However, many stop there and have not expressed why they do what they do. Regardless of the intent, it is potentially the most unfulfilling way to run a company!
Conversely, successful and purpose-led companies think differently. They start with the question why as shown by the green line in the diagram above. Evidently, companies who start from understanding their why that and express why they do what they do, their processes and what they do fall into place and they outperform their competitors.
"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it."
Simon Sinek // Author and Inspirational Speaker.
Suggested Actions 1
Do some deep thinking about the changes in the new world of work and peoples' attitudes and passions. Customers and employees have concerns and want change, but not necessarily for personal gain. For example:
- To help fight climate change and save our planet
- Overcoming poverty
- Clean drinking water (1 in 3 people globally do not have this).
- Educating the less fortunate.
People are increasingly passionate about these concerns. However, governments have struggled to address disturbing issues such as climate change and poverty.
On balance, we all must do what we can, and people want to buy from companies doing business for good. In fact the message is clear, companies must be more involved in helping people and the planet.
So, it may be a very good idea to express the impact you make (or seek to make). so if we all do a little bit, it will make a huge difference.
Not Convinced? Look at This
If you have two minutes to spare, listen to Paul Polman, former Unilever CEO.
Suggested Actions 2
If you have not already worked through or revisited your vision or mission, values and 'why', now is the time. Indeed, time is of the essence as internal pressures and external forces are becoming an issue. To clarify, your vision or mission, values and why are all interrelated for your purpose, but the main criterion to start with is your why.
What is Your Why?
Why is what makes you different from others. It is what inspires you to take action and do what you do. Likewise,'why' is also what motivates other people to take action, to buy your products or services, and to share your ideas. In other words, it is the basis of your purpose that drives your company forward.
In order to make a start, ask yourself, why:
- ... does your company exist?
- ... did you go to work this morning?
- ... should anyone care about this?
If you need some inspiration, also ask yourself, are we:
- ... doing what we are good at (core competencies)?
- ... true to our values?
- ... providing what makes the world a better place?
- ... maintaining sustainable revenue?
Who are Your Who?
Your Who are those you most wish to help and serve, and exist for? Of course, as a company you want to have great customers. To clarify this, perhaps you are generally grateful for any business you can get. However, some types of customers may suit you more. In particular, they may be self sufficient in utilising and getting benefit from what you sell them, thus require less support. On the other hand, certain customer types may share your values and seek to help people and the planet.
In light of the quest for the type or types of customers you prefer, you have probably looked at the profile of your ideal customers. In this situation you should typically know:
- Their pain.
- The biggest problem they have.
- Their values.
- What they believe in.
- Desires, what they want most, and the outcome.
The reason you exist should positively impact the lives of your customers and those you seek to serve. Therefore this is likely to be a higher emotional outcome than the benefits stated in your sales material!
Also, it is important to connect with your employees and motivate them, help them to find meaning and purpose in what they do.
- Guide them by putting them in your customers' situation to feel the need for emotional connection.
- Assist them in understanding how their work contributes to help make the lives of others better, and why this is important. If they believe what you believe, you will make great things happen.
In summary, your Who is as important as your Why.
Consider Your Vision / Mission
In similar fashion, most probably your description of what you do, who you do it for, and where you want to be in the future could do with updating.
- Revisit what your published statement(s) is.
- Does it truly stand up to the expectations of others in 2022 and beyond?
Review Your Values
These should describe your attributes and culture.
- Consider the top values of your company. What is it that your company cares about the most?
- Review your company goals. Are they relevant, and do they match your values? Perhaps they need updating?
- Look at competitors or other organisations you admire. What do they stand for that you aspire to achieve?
- Imagine that your company is no longer here (not due to failure). So what do you want people to remember about you?
Hint: A company that improved the lives of its customers, whose business for good made a positive impact.
Summary: Working Towards the benefits of being a purpose-led company
To sum up, the format of what your company purpose should convey is, "This is what we're doing for someone else, making their lives better."
Keep it brief. In reality a sentence or two will usually work. Conversely, the more you write, the more confused people will become. To clarify this, the most critical aspect is spending quality time to determine your purpose and why you exist.
When you have worked through the process, the words will come. Of course, your company purpose is bespoke. With this in mind, attempting to use a template or modifying another company's purpose statement won't work. Instead, it will do more harm than good. Therefore, be authentic, be purpose-led, then your staff and your customers will love you for it.
Get Help To Achieve the benefits of being a purpose-led company
We have found that many clients find it difficult to take a satellite view of their own company. SVC Training and Development can provide you and your team with the help to achieving the benefits of being a purpose-led company.
For a no-obligation confidential chat about how we can help your company: