3 Ways Defining Your Company Purpose Can Help Your Employees Help Your Business


Organizations that prioritize their values and purpose internally and externally are proven to experience significantly more growth than those that do not (Source: HBR Business Case for Purpose). The reason is that purpose drives the values of a company; values define how stakeholders relate to each other and, in turn, relationships determine employee productivity, consumer sales and social impact of the brand.

Specifically, here are 3 ways that defining your company purpose can help your employees help grow your business:

  1. Purpose-driven employees are your best brand advocates

According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer Report, consumers trust employees over CEOs, spokespeople or marketing. By investing in your employees and equipping them to become advocates, you can unlock latent consumer storytelling and engagement potential. Starbucks leads the way by empowering its partners to share updates, content and stories via social media.

  1. Purpose improves employee productivity, engagement and fulfilment.

According to Herman Miller, purpose is one of six fundamental human needs that motivate us at work. And famously, Peter Drucker notes how “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, compounding the need for organizations to truly invest in employee purpose for profitable success. Benevity, a Canadian B-Corp, recently launched its Missions platform, providing opportunities for employees to participate across environmental and social initiatives in line with their personal beliefs and values.

  1. Safeguard your brand against the increasing demand for talent

With all eyes on the rising workforce comprised of millennial and Gen-Z generations, brands are clamouring to understand how to attract quality talent in an increasingly competitive marketplace. As a recent Cone Communications Study outlines, 75% of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments before deciding where to work, and what’s more, 64% of millennials won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong corporate responsibility practices.

How do you bring purpose to life for employees? Here are five places to start:

  • Lead by Engagement: How can you, as a leader within your company, demonstrate purpose in a meaningful way? Patagonia’s leadership advocacy is ever more prominent, for instance, with their unapologetic stance on Bear’s Ears -- taking over the homepage of their website and CEO Rose Marcario’s provocative Times article.
  • Mobilize Employees: What causes or demonstrations do your employees care about that you as a brand can get behind and support? Think Ben & Jerry’s or Apple rallying and supporting employees at the Pride Parade, the latter led by CEO Tim Cook.
  • Co-Create Impact: Beyond writing a check or donating profits, consider how can your company give actionable opportunities for employees to participate in doing good. For example, Starbucks’ Global Month of Service empowers its partners from around the world to co-create community service programs and invite customers to join.
  • Reward Engagement: Closing the loop on employee engagement and providing deserved recognition is critical to any initiative. And the more significant the reward, the more noteworthy and regarded it becomes within and outside the company. IBM’s Month of Service Abroad, for instance, gives high-performers the opportunity to travel and live abroad for one month in the name of community service.
  • Equip Employees to Be Purposeful: To ensure widespread understanding, buy-in and adoption, companies must equip employees with the information, materials and tools they need to bring purpose to life. Starbucks’ Green Apron Book excels at achieving this as an onboarding document that spells out the values, purpose and mission of the company alongside suggested actions and behaviors.

It’s no longer enough to have a siloed CSR department, but rather embed purpose throughout your company by engaging and empowering employees to participate in and scale your impact. Doing so will pay dividends from improved employee productivity, fulfillment, talent attraction and bottom-line profit.