Is Your Organization Purpose-Driven? And does that matter to you?
Updated: May 5, 2022
How often do you reflect on the impact of your role at work beyond your income and your company's bottom line? In other words, why does your work matter? Many of us are in a constant search of a strong sense of purpose, both personally and at work. Purpose gives us the motivation to work harder, excel, have a strong sense of pride, walk that extra mile at work, and helps boost creativity. During the pandemic, purpose has become an even more important driver of retention and satisfaction at work.
Most of us want to identify personally with our organization's purpose, which is also a relevant retention driver. According to PWC, millennials are 5.3 times more likely to stay in their jobs when they have a solid connection to their company's purpose, while non-millennials are 2.3 times more likely to do the same. However, only 27% of leaders help employees connect their individual purposes to their work1, and only four in ten employees strongly agree that their organization's purpose makes them see their job as important. This article will reflect on the importance of purpose-driven organizations and some ways to identify them.
Defining Purpose-Driven Organizations
Most of us understand the idea of having our own sense of purpose in life, but what about purpose in business? An organization's purpose is not a formal announcement but a set of shared beliefs that guide the actions of all employees. "Purpose provides a clear definition of the firm's intent, creates the ability for stakeholders to identify with, and be inspired by, the firm's mission, vision, and values, and establishes actionable pathways and an aspirational outcome for the firm's actions." Purpose-driven organizations clearly define their purpose, and it becomes the main driver of business decision-making. In other words, it frames what they do and what they won't do.
Why Does it Matter?
Purpose-driven organizations tend to experience quicker growth rates and faster-rising stock prices. A recent industry survey indicates that 89% of U.S. consumers think positively about organizations that put people first. Additionally, 86% of consumers trust such organizations, and 83% remain loyal to them.
Younger generations are more and more influenced by the organization's purpose. This has a direct impact on their work-choice decisions and retention rates. Purpose can help companies stand out against the competition, give customers a reason to choose your organization, and help attract new talent with similar purpose-related interests.
How Organizations Are Gearing Towards This Integration
As more companies look to a future with a clear purpose at the center, neatly defined steps are being taken to integrate a sense of purpose within their strategy and everyday decision-making. It means stepping away from a standard focus on generating revenue and finding new ways to generate revenue while also achieving its purpose. How can you identify purpose-driven organizations you might want to work for?
Here are some best practices that you can look for:
A big-picture purpose is clearly defined.
Purpose and goals are openly communicated to employees.
Employees understand the values needed for the company to live out its purpose, and the behaviors that collectively characterize those values are clear.
Employees understand how their work makes a difference in the lives of others.
All managerial levels make business decisions taking the purpose into account.
There is a strong focus on change management to encourage buy-in and build excitement with employees.
The organization recruits for these same values and prioritizes candidates who can articulate both the financial and human value of the business.
Purpose and vision are shared with customers, employees, providers, and partners, and how they can help the organization achieve and promote its purpose.
Are you part of a purpose-driven organization? What are the everyday work practices that you would highlight? Leave your comments and share your insights.
Leader Essentials Group can help your management team develop the skills necessary to strengthen their ability to integrate your company's purpose into their everyday practices and decision-making. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting and learn more about how we can partner with you to develop and execute strategic leadership outcomes for your organization!
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Vera Alves is the Chief Consulting Officer at Leader Essentials Group, with extensive experience in leadership development and business management. With over 12 years of experience as a C-suite executive, Vera is highly skilled in leadership, strategic planning, operations management, organizational behavior, and change management. She possesses highly developed communication, training, and linguistic skills reflective of a very strong and charismatic leadership style.
_________________________________________________________________________  PWC (2016). Putting purpose to work: A study of purpose in the workplace. Retrieved from Putting Purpose to Work - A study of purpose in the workplace: June 2016 (pwc.com), 04/30/2022.  Herway, J. (2021). Just How Purpose-Driven Is Your Organizational Culture? Gallup. Retrieved from Just How Purpose-Driven Is Your Organizational Culture? (gallup.com), 04/30/2022. Gartenberg, C., Prat, A., & Serafeim, G. (2019). Corporate purpose and financial performance. Organization Science, 30(1), 1-18.  George, G., Haas, M. R., McGahan, A. M., Schillebeeckx, S. J., & Tracey, P. (2021). Purpose in the for-profit firm: A review and framework for management research. Journal of Management, 01492063211006450.  Kantar Consulting (2018). Purpose 2020: The journey towards purpose-led growth. Retrieved from https://www.kantar.com/Inspiration/Brands/The-Journey-Towards-Purpose-Led-Growth, 04/30/2022.  Porter Novelli/Cone (2019). Porter Novelli/Cone purpose biometrics study. Retrieved from https://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/purpose-biometrics, 04/30/2022. In George, G., Haas, M. R., McGahan, A. M., Schillebeeckx, S. J., & Tracey, P. (2021). Purpose in the for-profit firm: A review and framework for management research. Journal of Management, 01492063211006450.