Purpose-driven organisations operate at the intersection of planet, people and profit, where creating value for the planet, value for people and value for the company’s profits are inextricably linked. Employees are key to satisfying ‘value for people’ and aligning on purpose is a key way that companies can connect with their employees’ values.
Employees feel a stronger connection to a company if they align with its purpose.
Employees with a strong sense of alignment between their values and their employer’s purpose are more loyal, motivated and resilient to organisational changes. These strengths are reflected in the significant productivity gains observed by a 2020 Deloitte report, with purpose driven companies experiencing productivity gains translating into 30% higher levels of innovation.
There is a groundswell for more considered values-alignment among employees too. The Washington Post reported this June that corporations are reexamining their purpose in response to the concerns of their employees about workplace culture – particularly those concerns voiced publicly through news and social media.
Consumers are equally switched-on. Accenture Digital’s 14th annual Global Consumer Pulse Research found that 65% of consumers were attracted to buy from certain brands over others if ‘the company treats its employees well’. Now that employees find themselves working in new and often difficult circumstances, consumers are increasingly critical of businesses’ treatment of employees during the coronavirus pandemic. One poll saw 76% of respondents declare ‘how it treated employees, customers and the community during the pandemic’ to be an important factor when determining whether to support the brand after the pandemic.
‘Culture is the container in which purpose comes alive.’ Purpose cannot connect with consumers or impact the business bottom line without the genuine investment of employees. Businesses that show an authentic alignment between the values of their employees and their purpose are best positioned to benefit from the transformational power of purpose.
This is part four of a five-part series on the importance of purpose in a post-COVID environment. Read part one on purpose as retail’s major industry disruption, part two on defining purpose, part three on environmental sustainability. Part five will examine the impact of purpose on profitability.