3 Positive Impacts That Purpose Can Have on Culture

Any business that wants highly engaged, loyal employees who drive innovation must start with establishing a clear and meaningful purpose.

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Coca-Cola has one of the most succinct yet comprehensive purpose statements out there: “Refresh the world. Make a difference.” In six words, the global beverage leader explains exactly why it’s in business.

Being able to articulate your brand’s purpose with words has never been as important as it is today. Both consumers and job seekers are holding organizations accountable for explaining why businesses exist in the first place. And corporations that live their purpose statements are seeing tremendous results.

Take employee loyalty, for instance. During the height of the pandemic, 86% of engaged employees told Bain & Company that their employer had a purpose they could get behind. In other words, purpose and job satisfaction appeared to be intertwined. That’s an important consideration, given that millions of people are opting to look for new positions. For many, finding a purpose-filled organization is a key goal.

Knowing this, you might want to refresh your purpose statement or create your first one. Just be sure to share it with your employees. When you do, you may begin to see some of the following cultural benefits that tend to appear when a purpose empowers workers.

1. A stronger penchant for learning and upskilling among employees

Employees who feel connected with and committed to their employers’ purposes want to do their best to bring them to life. This enthusiasm leaves employees thirsty for knowledge so they can perform at high levels.

Kwasi Mitchell, Deloitte’s Chief Purpose Officer, explains why having a purpose makes so much of a difference in the willingness to absorb new information. “Aligning employees’ passions and interests with organizational needs can also improve organizational performance because workers are more motivated and engaged in their work and learning,” Mitchell says. “Purpose shapes everything from the ability to attract and retain workers to the extent to which workers experience meaning and fulfillment in their employment.”

2. More individual and team innovation

What sparks innovation? According to EY research, purpose is a huge catalyst. Nearly two-thirds of executives linked corporate purpose to the ability and desire to innovate.

It’s not difficult to see why employees with purpose would be more creative. Purpose serves as a roadmap or goalpost, not to mention motivation. Yet without clever and novel strategies, businesses couldn’t entirely reach their purposes. Team members tend to realize this and put forth efforts to make sure their employer’s purpose springs to life.

3. Better employee retention

Employee churn is costly on so many levels, including in terms of overall morale. A relevant, inspirational purpose statement can hold people in place, especially if they feel attached to the purpose. Stephanie Peskett, senior vice president and partner at BTS, wrote in an article for SmartBrief that “…team function breakdowns are most often caused by employees no longer seeing teammates for who they really are. They have lost connection with their co-workers’ values, dreams, feelings, thoughts and contributions.”

Uniting your team behind a shared purpose gives your employees a chance to reconnect with each other in very important, human ways. When everyone feels a sense of solidarity, individuals are less likely to want to leave the group. As a result, you wind up with workers who stick it out, even during rocky periods. (And every company will have those moments.)

You can’t just put together a purpose statement out of nowhere, of course. It must have authenticity to have an impact. Nevertheless, it makes sense to take the time to construct, revise, or reintroduce the “why” behind your organization.

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