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What Are Purpose-Led Organisations All About?

You’re probably hearing more and more of purpose-led (or purpose-driven) organisations, and rightly so. Having more ambition than just a bottom line of profit will result in an array of advantages, from being able to attract the best talent to an increase in trust, leading to more investments. 

Today, and even more so in the future, companies will be expected to have a duty of care beyond their profit – this is their purpose. By looking beyond profits, companies can give consideration to their stakeholders as well as the wider community which they serve. Not only can this have a positive impact on employees and their performance, it’s likely it’ll also drive customer loyalty and growth, which in the long term will be noticeable in your profit margin.

Identifying a Purpose

Identifying a purpose within your organisation can be tricky, not to mention the task of embedding it, but we’re confident that if you set aside some time to incorporate a purpose into all of your business activities, you will reap the reward as the world becomes increasingly more socially aware.

When identifying your purpose, it’s important to consider it from three key angles: the organisation itself, the business context which it operates in and also the people who deliver the services that it provides. Starting the analysis by looking at the ins and outs of the organisation will help you envision your purpose and create a framework that guides and aligns employees accordingly. Let’s break it down.

The Organisation Itself   

This is the first factor to consider, gaining analysis into the inside of the business and really drilling down into the bones to find a basis for your purpose. At this point you need to be thinking about why the organisation exists. This involves heavy questioning and will require involvement from the board. Ask questions such as:

  • What does the organisation potentially offer to the world? 
  • What are the core values?
  • What do you want to offer to the world?
  • What is your USP?
  • What activities is the organisation engaged in and how do they relate to overall purpose? 
  • What promise or value do you provide?

The Context It Operates In

Once you’ve drawn up an analysis of why the organisation exists in the first place, it’s time to think about the external factors that influence the organisation on both a local and global basis. At this stage, you should ask questions such as:

  • What emerging trends can be seen? (Political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental)
  • What does this tell you about the demands of the business environment?
  • What markets/opportunities can be seen opening up?
  • What potential challenges are there?
  • What disruptors could affect your organisational offering?
  • How might this all collectively impact the core purpose?

Integrating the analysis of the organisation and the context in which it operates will help you to answer questions surrounding the bigger picture of what the world needs from your business, now and in the future. There’s not much point in creating a purpose without considering external influences, as what happens inside the organisation needs to align with the outer world in which it operates. That’s where individual purpose comes in. 

The People Who Deliver The Product or Service

Nobody in your organisation will have more direct contact with the external context than the people who deliver your product or service. As a result, this means that your employees need to be completely in touch with your purpose and be able to understand how their behaviour must reflect the organisational purpose at all times. 

It’s important that you have a team where the individuals align their own purposes with your organisational purposes to eliminate the risk of contradictions or differences which could stop your employees from working efficiently. 

We’re passionate about purpose-led organisations and helping you fulfil your ambitions. And because we, like you, believe business should be a force for good, we’re on an exciting journey to become a Certified B Corporation.

If you need any advice on how to start your purpose-led journey, contact one of our friendly consultants today.

April Barlow

By April Barlow

A proven recruitment expert. Worked with a range of clients across Leeds and Bradford from start-ups to multi nationals. Recognised for hiring all office based and management roles.
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