But is purpose worth it? Yes, executives understand the importance of creating an appealing working environment to attract the best talent (according to a recent survey from PwC, 88% of millennials said they want to work for a company whose values reflect their own). Also, the evidence suggests an organisation with a strong social purpose also enjoys a marked increase in employee engagement (and have also outperformed the stock market by a whopping 206% over the last ten years according to Havas’ Meaningful Brands Report).
In other words purpose can help future-proof a company. At a time of unprecedented change across all industries, purpose can infuse and inspire greater agility, responsiveness, and indeed relevance to the operating environment. In addition, it can provide the integrity, the aspiration, and the intention behind any business transformation (if expressed well enough and with a high level of abstraction). And it’s here that purpose becomes a call to action, a rallying cry for employees, customers, and even shareholders to get behind – based on delivering a meaningful difference to both local and global communities.
Purpose can also act as a sense-check for validating change initiatives. With agility being such a powerful business imperative these days, a shared sense of coordinated purpose offers a barometer for confirming the integrity of key decisions, aids proactive thinking, and instils the courage needed to move forward. By actively agreeing to live and breathe purpose, executives are offered a new lens by which they can examine market demand and other fundamental basics. Equally, it keeps the business current, and gives consumers and employees a louder voice for dictating future strategic direction – thereby fostering a gradual reverse away from top-down planning toward a more responsive bottom-up appreciation of what drives success.
As one attendee noted: “Transformation is a journey. It’s about defining and setting out for a future state that should include a new vision and, of equal importance, a new purpose that excites people, and makes them proud to get involved”. In this instance, purpose provides the wrap-around story that moves the narrative beyond the ‘how’, ‘when’, and ‘what’ toward the ‘why’.