Driving Purpose Within An Organisation - [website] Email Print
Published: 13th of May 2021 by: Debbie Engelbrecht

There is a lot of talk about purpose driven organisations. But what exactly is that? It is much easier if your organisation is a Non-Profit to have a clear purpose driven mandate.

For example, an organisation like Up To Me has a clear goal of education/coaching and mentoring/mental wellness and networking for the women of SA who have fallen victim to abuse. Up To Me is the social project for Staff Training, Mindful Impact and Smart Training a coalition of training and coaching partners.

But how does a for profit company drive purpose? To start the discussion, it may be useful to look at the simple definition of purpose. The dictionary describes purpose as "the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists". Ultimately, we understand that all companies are in business to make profits, but profits are purely a means to an end and the expectation today is that companies strive for the 4 P approach of ethical leadership which includes Purpose, People, Planet and Principles.

The easiest way therefore to understand the demands from today's client and employee is to understand that they no longer really want to support a company that strives to be the best in the world. They mostly want to support a company that strives to be the best for the world.
Whether the purpose is best for the planet or best for the people depends on the choices your social investment committee make. As long as the purpose becomes central to the daily actions of the company, you will capture the attention of especially your Generation Y and Generation Z clientele and employees, but social purpose is by no means exclusive to the younger generations.

In many companies the link between greater purpose and brand has become part of their internal driving force and it plays a huge part in skills attraction and retention, employee wellness, happiness and staff engagement. All of which are measurables.

All that remains is to measure the impact of the social project itself and bringing a level of accountability and precision to the task of social impact. With this approach it is likely that the social project will become the cohesive force you seek for maximum employee engagement.

A Forbes article by Afdel Aziz in 2018 quotes Dan Goldenberg, Executive Director at Call of Duty Endowment:
"It's shocking to me, to be honest with you, how many companies check their business smarts at the door. They think when it comes to charity and philanthropy that if you're applying what made you successful as a business, somehow you're not being "charitable". And I'd argue that they are exactly wrong. If you apply what makes you successful in business and you apply it to a social realm where you can really add value, you actually do more good" said Goldenberg.

We think Goldenberg is spot on! Activision Blizzard's online game Call of Duty has a sterling success rate not only as a game, but also as an example of how purpose can drive private companies. Their Veterans Endowment project has a single purpose of providing high quality employment opportunities for veterans. And they are measuring their success. The cost for them to place a vet in 2018 was $516 compared to the US Government's $3083.

What are your thoughts on this topic and how does your organisation drive purpose?

© Debbie Engelbrecht 2021

Debbie is the MD at Staff Training, providing soft skills and leadership training for South Africans since 2000. Should you wish for Staff Training to put together an annual training package for you covering aspects of management, wellness and self-mastery, please email info@stafftraining.co.za

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