What should the purpose of a company be? Rather than inquiring into the specific nature of any particular company, leaders would do better to ask why a company should have, and articulate, their purpose in the first place.
Purpose plays a critical role in talent acquisition, workforce development, employee satisfaction, and career growth. That’s why we’ve collaborated with RedThread Research’s Dani Johnson and Stacia Sherman Garr and Learning Futures Group’s Chris Pirie on a 10-part podcast series, Is Purpose Working? Here are the 10 takeaways in brief.
- Purpose provides meaning in times of flux. Considering the upheaval in the world over the last several years, it’s only natural to wonder why we spend our time doing what we do. “What gets you up in the morning? What energizes you? These questions speak to personal purpose, rather than just organizational purpose.” —Dani Johnson, RedThread Research
- Purpose isn’t just branding. Purpose isn’t just about organizations doing something outside of their traditional remit because of Covid, but the pandemic and subsequent Great Resignation do provide a perfect lens through which to dig into this and see whether there is truth to these ideas. “All of that anxiety about what technology is doing to the workplace really served to underscore our collective humanity—the idea of purpose became really powerful.” —Chris Pierie
- Purpose is more than just “good deeds” alone. Purpose cannot be solely equated to corporate social responsibility or other altruistic corporate initiatives. Instead, it can be guidance for both tactical and strategic decision making. “You’ve got a North Star…you’re also enabled to build a really powerful culture.”—Chris Pierie
- Purpose is compatible with making money. Purpose makes people operate more optimally. It is a catalyst for increased delivery.
- Purpose supports human capital metrics requirements. SEC requirements relating to human capital metrics are in place, and organizations are now grappling with those requirements. “This concept of metrics, and human capital metrics in particular, is becoming more relevant.”—Stacia Sherman Garr
- Purpose combines with the talent pipeline to create a potent mix. The link between purpose and development will become clearer, with purpose becoming a major factor in how we approach recruitment. “If an organization can show they have purpose, they are going to reap the talent benefits.”—Stacia Sherman Garr
- Purpose can be developed by learning leaders. “L&D teams are a massive engine for perpetuating culture if you’re thinking about culture as helping people understand why the organization does what it does, and how their personal goals and purpose fit into that.” —Steve Pirie
- Purpose makes L&D relevant and indispensable. L&D plays an important role in influencing the individual, their connection to a team, and the broader culture.
- Purpose requires L&D to focus on motivation and engagement. Purpose helps to deeply engage people; engagement is the precursor to learning. “The next wave is going to be about subtle dynamics of how we work together—making sure that all voices aren’t only heard, but truly integrated.”—Suzanne Gibbs Howard
- Purpose is the golden thread that brings together an entire organization. Purpose should be integrated as a business model for the future, creating an alignment of personal, team, and organizational purpose. “[Leaders] know they need better, stronger glue to keep their organization together.” —Chris Pirie
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