The benefits of purpose-driven work for your organization

The benefits of purpose-driven work for your organization

Earning a salary is definitely one of the main reasons to show-up at work. But if you think of the paycheck and related perks as the only incentives, you are missing on other aspects that can get collaborators motivated. People are more likely to commit when the sense of belonging and the pursue of a common good are fostered inside the organization where they develop their career.

Easier said than done, if you want to leverage the benefits of Purpose-Driven work, you need to make sure the correct mindset spreads through the whole organization by setting priorities that translate into concrete actions so this cultural shift can happen.

Topics to check:

  1. Defining organizational purpose
  2. Purpose-Driven priorities
  3. Purpose adoption
  4. The importance of belonging

Defining organizational purpose

As mentioned in the beginning, when asked about the reasons to perform any job or conduct any business, most people would first think of profit. But if you reflect upon it, investing +40 hours per week just to earn a living does not sound too exciting… Don’t get that wrong, we all need money, but humans also crave for more than shelter and food, we long for transcendency. That is when purpose comes in handy.

The truth is that we cannot leave profit out of the equation, but we can allocate it in the base of our culture. This means that making money is an organizational purpose indeed, but one that lies at the bottom, way below others such as helping your customers find success or even contributing to change the world. In his Strengthening Organizational Purpose article, Jeff Anderson proposes an interesting classification that we are going to briefly explore:

The Profit Purpose

We already went through this idea. Let's put it this way: According to the YouGov 2018 survey, 27% of British managers would accept a salary cut to work for a company that has a clear purpose beyond profit. There are many other studies on this topic and figures tend to back up the idea that more and more people are looking for a purpose beyond making profits. Even on a personal basis.

The Market Purpose

Impacting the market is one clear example of a purpose beyond profit and many teams adopt this customer-focused approach to frame their operations. Helping customers to achieve their goals strengthens the relationship between the people who uses the product or service and the organization that provides it, becoming a good driver for your team to keep enthusiastically working on how to better satisfy the market.

The More Meaningful Purpose

You should think of this as the top-tier purpose that can guide any team or company, and it goes beyond satisfying market needs. A higher purpose means that you are longing to empower people and help them to develop their communities. This will not only help you connect with customers at an emotional level, but also to motivate your collaborators to come up with creative ways to make people’s lives better.

Alan Mulally former president and CEO for the Ford Motor Company, supplies this interesting perspective on the idea of working towards a common purpose. If you think about it, setting the conditions for your team to do their best is the Agile way to deal with any project.

Purpose-Driven priorities

In order to successfully integrate a Purpose-Driven approach inside your organizational culture, you want to make sure to include some of the key purpose elements, that according to “The Business Case for Purpose”, a study conducted by Harvard Business Review alongside EY’s Beacon Institute, are:

  • Create value for the customer
  • Positively impact the community or society
  • Inspire innovation and positive change
  • Provide employees with a sense of meaning and fulfillment
  • Generate financial results for shareholders
  • Contribute to a sustainable world
  • Reduce negative impact on the environment
  • Prepare employees to face challenging situations

These are some priorities that you should integrate into your core business strategy. A good example to look at is the case of CVS Health, which, in 2014 and under the name CVS Pharmacy, became the first drugstore chain in the US to halt selling tobacco products and launched several programs to help smokers quit on its pursue to “help people on their path to better health”.

A more radical case is Ecosia. Being around since 2009, it is an internet browser that invests its profits into tree-planting programs. As of 2021, their website states they have planted over 60 million trees in 15 countries, with 8 million regular users and a team of 40 collaborators. The founder, Christian Kroll, decided to structure the company as a “for-profit social enterprise”.

Purpose adoption

We have talked about Purpose-Driven organizations on a high level, but how exactly are you supposed to start working with this approach at your company? It mostly depends on the actual shape of its culture, as there might already exist some policies and practices in place, but as a 2019 study by PwC concluded that only 28% of US employees felt “really connected” with their company’s purpose, there is definitely room for improvement.

Our best suggestion is to start with a Purpose-Driven project, where you can practice the concepts we reviewed earlier in a short term and get comfortable with it.

The infographic displays our take on the essentials you should define for this project. We know that points 1 and 2 are inherent to any kind of project. But when it comes down to points 3 and 4, things start to complicate. For example: How many times have you found someone else working on a task that was assigned to you? Or how many redundant jobs that could be automated has anyone been doing at your company?

The remote work trend brought by the Covid-19 pandemic has made it even harder for teams to organize and properly follow up on tasks and service tickets. This can lead to sloppy execution and waste of resources, as well as giving a hard time to your collaborators and hurting their enthusiasm.

One effective way, however, that several companies have found to mitigate this situation is to use specialized software that enables teams from different areas to work on the same project with broad communication features. That is the case of the Freshdesk + Trello power-up integration developed by SoftWareDevTools, as it lets you easily export your customer support tickets into your project boards for easier sync between teams.

Check how does it work in the video below:

You can also try the Freshservice + Trello power-up, if you want to boost the link between your internal IT processes and your overall organization.

The importance of belonging

“Creating a strong sense of belonging for all” is a study conducted by EY that elaborates on a key property of any Purpose-Driven organization: The sense of belonging of the individuals that are part of it. The research findings state that people who work at companies that make them feel trusted can raise productivity by 50%, as well as other business KPIs such as team collaboration and innovation.

Creating the right conditions for people to feel comfortable and taken into account is the cornerstone in your quest to increase the relevance of a higher purpose inside your organization. You should also keep up-to-date with your customers' feedback, as it will give you clues to understand how are you impacting the community.

Have you worked on a Purpose-Driven project or company? What have you learned? Let us know on our social media pages or drop us a mail.

Are you adopting or looking to improve your Agile practices? Is your team remote? If your answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, you should check out our products for distributed teams. We focus on making communication more effective and easier for remote teams.

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