Humans crave to find purpose in everything they do. That's also why we get very mindful while choosing a job. We don't look just for lots of zeroes in the paycheck; we want to perform work relevant to our lives and the path we want to follow. When we find that sweet spot inside an organization, chances are we develop a sense of belonging, reinforced by the chase of a common goal.
A strong team culture should prioritize the adoption of a purpose-driven vision that will render collaborators more committed. Not only will they deliver the expected work, but they might go the extra mile in terms of creativity to solve or improve any given situation. Let’s take a closer look at what a purpose-driven approach is and the benefits it can bring to your team.
Topics to check:
- Defining organizational purpose
- Purpose-driven priorities
- Allocating time to find purpose
- The importance of belonging
Defining organizational purpose
The truth is that we cannot leave profit out of the equation. Yes, generating income 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 the following classification:
The Profit Purpose
Let's put it this way: According to the YouGov 2018 survey, 27% of 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-centric approach to frame their operations. Helping customers to achieve their goals strengthens the relationship between the people who use the product or service and the organization that provides it, becoming a suitable driver for your team to keep enthusiastically working on how to better satisfy the market.
Aligning your DevOps and service teams to fix bugs quicker and bring products to your customers as early as possible is an excellent example of “The Market Purpose” as the driving force behind your organization. Boost their collaboration potential with the Freshdesk + Trello power-up integration, developed by SoftwareDevTools, which lets you easily export your customer support tickets into your project boards for more accessible sync between several teams.
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 help you connect with customers and motivate your collaborators to develop creative ways to improve people's lives, including their own.
Alan Mulally, former executive vice-president of Boeing and former president and CEO for the Ford Motor Company, shared this exciting 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.
To successfully integrate a Purpose-Driven approach inside your organizational culture, you want to make sure to include some of the vital 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 the 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 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. It then launched several programs to help smokers quit in pursuit of "helping people on their path to better health."
Ecosia is a more radical case. 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."
Allocating time to find purpose
As good as it all may sound, if your team is experiencing burnout, they might not care about the customers or the environment. People can only embrace purpose when their life has a balance between work and personal time. When people are not performing a job, they can think further about the impact of their actions.
One superb method to start giving your colleagues the time they need is to adopt a hybrid working model. There are several of them, and you can make your own combination. The main point is to let people work remotely and allocate time for their personal activities, such as taking care of their children or road-tripping through Europe.
You want them to be at their best, so helping them integrate their jobs within their lives, instead of having to fit their lives into a work schedule, is critical. Give your team the freedom to choose when and from where to work, and they will feel trusted.
The importance of belonging
"Creating a strong sense of belonging for all" is a study conducted by EY that elaborates on a critical 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% and other business KPIs such as team collaboration and innovation.
Creating the right conditions for people to feel comfortable and being listened to is the cornerstone in any organization's quest to increase the relevance towards a higher purpose. You should also keep up-to-date with your customers' feedback, as it will give you clues to understand how you are impacting the community.
Giving people purpose beyond earning their paycheck makes the difference. It can take a while for some to adopt this approach, but helping people be at their best is the job of a leader. It isn’t easy, but it's worth the effort.
Fast-growing tech companies partner with Encora to outsource product development and drive growth. Contact us to learn more on how to implement a purpose-driven vision and reinforce your organization’s culture.