In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing workplace, cultivating a sense of purpose is vital for business success. That’s why leaders need to introduce purpose-driven values as a cornerstone of their strategy.
Purpose-driven values help businesses align their actions with their values and create a sustainable impact on society as a whole. By prioritising concepts like corporate social responsibility, sustainability, transparency, accountability, and diversity and inclusion, businesses can positively impact their bottom line and the community they serve.
What are purpose-driven values?
These guiding principles reflect an organisation’s core values and beliefs. A foundation for all decision-making processes, they help guide employees towards achieving the company’s mission and vision.
Aligned with the business strategy, purpose driven values reflect the culture and ethos of the organisation. When employees share these values, it creates a sense of community and a shared intention, contributing to overall success and a competitive advantage.
Companies that embed purpose enjoy a stronger reputation, brand affinity, and positive impact. A global survey by Zeno of over 8,000 consumers found that 94% consider a robust corporate purpose essential, while 83% support profitable brands that impact society positively. Asian consumers prioritise purposeful companies that make products reflecting people’s needs.
The Benefits of Being a Purpose-Driven Company
Defining purpose-driven values is crucial for any business looking to create positive change and succeed in today’s market. Purpose-driven values:
- Provide a clear sense of direction: By defining values and mission, it creates a clear picture for teams and customers. This helps ensure everyone is aligned with the company’s vision and is working towards the same goals.
- Build a culture of trust and respect: Employees who feel connected to the organisational mission are more likely to be motivated and productive.
- Attract consumers who share your vision: Consumers increasingly seek companies that share their values and beliefs. A purpose statement can help businesses stand out in the market and attract customers who want to support a company that aligns with their own values.
When businesses define and implement purpose-driven values, they are setting themselves up for long-term success. They ensure that their resources are being used in a way that creates maximum benefit for everyone involved with the organisation, including investors, employees, suppliers, customers, and the community as a whole.
Example of Effective Corporate Social Responsibility
Carousell, a Singapore-based classifieds and e-commerce online marketplace, built a business model around making buying and selling under-used items simple through a mobile app, promoting sustainability and reducing waste. Its mission of reducing waste and promoting sustainability has built a significant community across Southeast Asia and is now worth millions.
This resonates with consumers, who are increasingly concerned about climate change and want to contribute towards protecting the environment. Carousell has extended the life cycle of millions of items and partnered with IKEA to make circularity easy and accessible. Its purpose-driven efforts include working with charities and being part of Singapore’s Company of Good ecosystem that fosters impact in various areas.1
In another example, Ingrid Johnson, President of Sun Life Asia, believes that building businesses under a common purpose is the cornerstone for helping clients achieve financial security. In a recent interview with McKinsey, she talked about how building client-driven, sustainable, and profitable businesses starts with understanding the context in which a business is trying to transform and what success looks like compared to competitors.
This informs strategic goals, which require a compelling plan and a capable team. Expecting change comes with obstacles and pivoting when unexpected events occur; however, creating engaged teams by aligning culture with strategic change creates extraordinary results. Being courageous enough to make choices for long-term success is paramount.2
The Power of a Strong Organisational Purpose
As per a report from PwC, 79% of business leaders believe that purpose is central to success. However, it is concerning that less than half of employees know what their organisation stands for and what sets it apart.3
It’s not enough for a company to have a purpose simply for the sake of having one. A clear and meaningful purpose must guide decision-making at all levels of the organisation. A strong sense of purpose can lead to increased employee engagement, customer loyalty, and a positive impact on society. Purpose driven organisations are known to have a competitive edge, as they prioritise authenticity and transparency, leading to a better reputation and trust among stakeholders.
But creating a purpose-driven organisation is not always easy. It requires a commitment from all levels of the organisation, from leadership to front-line employees. Leaders must be willing to make difficult decisions that align with the company’s values, even when it may not be the most profitable choice. Employees must be empowered to make decisions that align with the company’s values, and customers and stakeholders must be able to hold the company accountable when it falls short.
Aligning Purpose-Driven Values to the Mission Statement
Developing purpose-driven values requires a collaborative effort between key stakeholders in the organisation. Start by assessing your organisation’s current values and identify areas that align with your mission and vision. Then, engage employees in the process by soliciting feedback and input on what values they believe reflect the culture and ethos of the organisation. Once these values are established, it’s important to communicate them effectively to encourage employees and integrate them into the company’s decision-making processes.
Implementing Purpose-Driven Values in the Business Model
Purpose-driven values can take many forms depending on the organisation. Some examples include prioritising transparency and accountability, valuing diversity and inclusivity, promoting social responsibility and sustainability, and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity. These values can be reflected in the company’s mission statement, onboarding process, and performance metrics, among other things.
Building an organisational culture that promotes purpose-driven values requires effort and time, but it is an investment in long-term growth, profitability, and sustainability. Here are some steps that businesses can follow to implement purpose-driven values:
- Define and communicate company values: The first step is to define and communicate your company’s values and objectives. These values should be clear, concise, and easily understandable, ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding what actions support the company’s purpose.
- Lead by example: Leaders must exhibit the values they promote in their businesses – acting as role models within their purpose-driven company, prioritising values like social responsibility, transparency, and diversity.
- Encourage employee engagement: It’s crucial to foster an organisational culture that encourages employee engagement. Employee involvement initiatives, open communication channels, and training and skill development opportunities must support the company values. Employees should also be empowered to express their ideas and suggest improvements to the business.
- Measure and track impact: Determining if your efforts to align your company’s actions with the purpose-driven values and objectives are successful requires measuring and tracking impact. Long-term goals must be created, followed, measured, and evaluated to determine the positive impact on the organisation.
Purpose-driven values are an essential part of sustainable business success. By championing social responsibility, sustainability, transparency, accountability, diversity, and inclusivity, companies create long-term value for everyone involved. Purpose-driven values attract and retain top talent, improve customer loyalty, and bring financial success. If businesses want to thrive in today’s world, they must embrace purpose-driven values as a core part of their strategy in order for them to grow and prosper.
Asia Pacific, Lim-Loges & Masters