If you polled employees today, how many would know the company’s purpose?

“Purpose” has become a core word in management conversations and referred to in thousands of books and articles about business management and leadership. Yet many of the purpose statements we read can be a little generic and vanilla. For example,

… “ cultivate a strong network”

…” be employer of choice”

… “ maximise shareholder value”

While there isn’t anything wrong with these statements, they miss the heart of why the organisation exists. Why one organisation is better or different to others providing a similar service. They also miss the mark for connecting employees to a purpose that drives their loyalty, motivation and have them drinking the Kool-aid.

In research conducted by PWC of 540 employees worldwide, only 28% of respondents felt connected to their organisation’s purpose and only 22% agreed their role leveraged their strengths.

According to Simon Sinek, “the fundamental difference between the “Apples” of the world and everyone else is that they start with “why”.

Let’s contemplate this from the perspective of your employees (who are the greatest asset of any organisation).

When employees are disconnected from the organisation’s purpose, they feel lost, it drains their energy and over time, it makes it hard to get up in the morning to come to work. Telltale signs of disconnectedness begin to show through sick days, errors, delays, lower performance.

Indeed, when employees are connected to the purpose, they feel inspired to not just do good work but great work! Make sure the leaders in your organisation embody your purpose. Communicate from the why, then talk about what and how.

Here are a couple of examples of purpose that have been fundamental to the organisation’s success:

Lego –a toy company that doesn’t just sell toys, it strives for “the development of children’s creativity through play and learning”

IKEA – a furniture company that doesn’t just sell furniture, it strives to “ create a better everyday life for the many people” and meet the needs of people of limited means (whose only way to afford furniture would have been to make or inherit it).

The Verity team works with companies to help them define and articulate their “why”; which creates clarity around goals and achievement and boosts employee motivation. If you want to accelerate your business through your purpose and core values, why not book a free hour session with our Partners today!


By Andre van der Merwe