The organizational purpose is more than marketing or communication. It is what your organization stands for; it’s how you change from within to achieve something beyond profit, something life-affirming for your employees and your customers. And you have to write a compelling narrative, one that tells the story of your purpose and illustrates how your organization lives and breathes it.
Corporate purpose can be defined as “a concrete goal or objective for the firm that reaches beyond profit maximization”. It is a set of shared beliefs, shared by the members of an organization and guiding employee actions. In comparison to a company’s mission describing “what” a company does, a corporate purpose explains “why” a company engages in a specific type of organizational behaviour. Yet, a corporate purpose does not necessarily have to be prosocial.
HOW DOES CORPORATE PURPOSE INFLUENCE
For decades, the only purpose for most companies was to reach their financial objectives and maximize profits. Nowadays, some scholars argue that having a solid corporate sense can improve firms’ performance in two ways:
1. Purpose can drive employee engagement and increase employee effort and
2. It can affect external stakeholder groups and, for example, increase customer
satisfaction and loyalty.
HOW CAN MANAGERS CREATE PURPOSE-DRIVEN
Several basic steps may help managers to create purpose-driven organizations:
- Envision an inspired workforce – assess the purpose that drives excellence in
your company and imagines how it can permeate the corporate workforce
- Discover the purpose – use tactfulness to gain a better understanding of the
everyday needs of your workforce
- Recognize the need for authenticity – employees detect hypocrisy.
- Turn the authentic message into a constant message – look for permanent
solutions that ensure commitment.
- Stimulate individual learning – implement structures that help employees
reflect on the corporate purpose and be part of it.
- Turn midlevel managers into purpose-driven leaders – they are the company’s backbone.
- Connect the people to the purpose – explain how employees’ daily activities are connected to the corporate purpose.
- Unleash the positive energizers – identify and support the employees in the
firm who naturally inspire others