Purpose is talked about so much by so many. For good reasons too as when it is done right and fully integrated, purpose can have significant positive impact in so many areas of your business both internally and externally.
When embedding a purpose in your business you should always start internally, so let’s focus on the advantages that a truly embedded purpose can bring to your business from an internal point of view.
Motivation and focus
Most businesses take longer, cost more, and earn less than originally planned, at least in the short term, and there are lots of ups and downs along the way. If you’re only in it for the money, it’s too easy to give up when times get tough. However, if you really believe in what you’re doing, it’s much easier to find the strength to carry on and then to succeed. As Tesla founder Elon Musk himself put it:
“Putting in long hours for a corporation is hard. Putting in long hours for a cause is easy.”
Without purpose you can get distracted too easily. It is good to be able to take advantage of new innovations or trends or capitalise on opportunities in the market place. However, without a clear purpose it can be difficult to stay focussed on what is really important to you and your business and all too easy to drift away from the goals you had in mind. A clear purpose can act as a compass for both you and your employees to help you reach your goals in the right way giving a sense of ‘why’ whilst doing the ‘what’.
Employee satisfaction and loyalty
If you have an engaging purpose and can communicate it clearly, it will help you attract others to your business that share your same beliefs and purpose. When people appreciate what you’re doing and can express their own ideals through working with you, they are much more likely to join your cause. Once on-board, these people can help your business to grow.
Purpose can help with attracting talent and recruitment, but it then becomes more than that:
According to a survey by the Korn Ferry Institute1, 90% of people who worked in a purpose-driven organization reported feeling engaged in their work. In companies who were not as focused on purpose, only 32 percent of employees reported feelings of engagement with their work. With a sense of purpose, team members become part of something bigger than themselves. They know that what they do matters, and that they are contributing to the greater good of the business and what it stands for.
Being genuinely purpose driven is particularly attractive to the Millennial generation. Whilst much has been written about millennial’s, one fact continues to hold true, that they are a value-driven generation and that finding purpose in their work is a critical factor for them. They care about the values of the companies they buy from and the companies they work for. Therefore, purpose is key to recruit, inspire and retain these sought after employees and since millennial’s will soon make up most of the workforce, having a clear and engaging purpose will become even more important.
Spirit of Excellence
The combination of motivation, focus, satisfaction and loyalty can help produce another vital advantage for your business; a spirit of excellence, a drive by all to do the best they can. If you have a purpose to believe in for the long term, you will do things very differently from those who do not have focus or are just focussed on the short term here and now. When your driving purpose is strong, everything you do is consistent with that. For example, you want to make exceptional products, recruit and train excellent team members, provide outstanding customer service, and offer authentic service to your community not as a means to an end but they are ends in and of themselves because they are integral to your purpose. This consistency of purpose leads to higher standards of excellence, better processes, and stronger results in the long run.
Innovate and change
In order to stay relevant to your consumers, to keep up with changes in your business environment, your company must be able to adapt and change. Change is traditionally feared and resisted. However, if everyone in the business is aligned to a common purpose, it can help them to understand the need for change and this empowers them to embrace it, rather than fear it. In fact, not only will purpose help change to be embraced, it will also help in the creation of change. Studies have shown that in purpose focussed companies, creativity increases and as does breakthrough innovation. For example, to help combat the struggles on the high street, last month the Body Shop have announced that they are planning to turn its stores into ‘activist hubs’2 to attract more visitors to its shops with the idea coming from employees driven to find ways to promote both the business and the cause.
Running a purpose driven business is not easy and requires a great deal of thought, effort and consistency. However, the benefits that it can bring are worth it. Who wouldn’t want a business with clear focus, engaged and loyal employees with a spirit of excellence and a desire to adapt and change?
If you missed our article ‘What’s the purpose?’ that explains what a Purpose is and is not, check it out here.
And if you enjoyed this article, look out for the next one on the external advantages that a purpose can bring.
1 The study, called “People on a mission,” examined a broad set of purpose-driven organizations, including interviews with 30 founders,
CEOs, and senior executives at consumer companies with visible and authentic purposes, engaged employees, customer-oriented cultures,
and strong financial results.