Magic happens when business owners ask: ‘Why are we doing this?’, says Sylvia Schutte, founder and managing director at Stratitude, a marketing agency.
It’s especially important that business owners translate the ‘why’ to their employees and help their teams to understand the bigger purpose behind each task, she adds.
“If I can make my team think about and understand the bigger purpose behind [every] social media post, press release, new website or an SMS campaign, then the ‘how’ comes naturally.”
Leaders are in a great position to articulate the values a company is trying to enact and to shape the story of how today’s work connects with those values
It’s just as important that that employees align their personal purpose to the company’s, says Schutte, otherwise they can become disengaged and disconnected from the business.
“Do your employees know your business’s purpose? If yes, do they know how they personally contribute towards that purpose?,” asks Schutte.
Here are Schutte’s 5 steps for building a purpose-driven business:
1. Consistently communicate your company’s vision
The vision, brand, values, beliefs and aspirations of the business should drive its true purpose. Work with your employees to define your purpose, and let this drive the campaigns you develop.
By consistently communicating this message, you enable your customers and employees to connect with your brand and experience your real purpose.
2. Marketing and HR should collaborate to communicate your company’s purpose
To ensure employees understand the company’s brand, purpose and culture, they need to be exposed to it from day one and throughout their employment journey.
While marketing works at communicating the brand to customers, the collaboration of HR and marketing communicates the brand to employees.
3. Your managers must drive the culture
People find meaning when they see a clear connection between what they highly value and what they spend time doing. That connection, however, is not always obvious. Leaders are in a great position to articulate the values a company is trying to enact and to shape the story of how today’s work connects with those values.
While businesses are usually pretty good at sharing financial data, it’s the human stories that will have the most impact on your employees
4. Share stories of impact
People need to feel a sense of purpose in what they do. Help them to understand how their individual roles have created a positive impact. Share stories of people and how the business has had an impact on their lives. Bring in people (clients) who have been helped by the company’s products or services, and let them talk to your employees.
While businesses are usually pretty good at sharing financial data, it’s the human stories that will have the most impact on your employees.
5. Don’t be afraid to have hard conversations
Often, leaders will overlook or ignore behaviour that is not aligned to the brand, culture or purpose. It gets even trickier when the inappropriate behaviour is displayed by a top performer. This is harmful to the business and creates an impression that culture is only applicable to some. Address issues and have hard conversations when needed – they are more important than you think.