8 June 2021

Purpose and Trust

The importance of business purpose for employees

We’re at a crucial point in history, when trust in the government is at an all-time low, exacerbated by the Cummings report. When it comes to the establishment, people are worn out and disillusioned. But all is not lost. Because now more than ever, people want to find meaning in their work. To do something that makes a difference. They’re turning to businesses with a strong sense of purpose, who they trust to do the right thing. And employers are listening…

The response from industry

Companies are fast switching onto the idea of purpose being the great connector – inspiring colleagues and customers alike. Across every industry, we’re seeing businesses re-set to become purpose-led. Gillette is challenging toxic masculinity; Unilever is going for sustainability; NatWest is championing people’s potential. In the past few months alone, we’ve been working with clients on sustainability, accessibility and inclusion.

What should your company purpose be?

That’s the big question. You need to find a purpose that meets the needs of your business as well as resonating with what colleagues want, and delivering for your customers. Research, insight and testing are all essential – your purpose will fall flat fast if it doesn’t resonate.

Purpose led business

Use it or lose it

Once chosen and tested, your purpose should act as the thread that guides everything you do:

  • Communicate, discuss and reference your purpose in your comms
  • Test every decision against your purpose
  • Help your people (particularly your leaders) find alignment between their own personal purpose and that of the business
  • Use events to bring your purpose to life
  • Use long-term measures to report back

The power of trust

For your employees to get behind your purpose, they need to trust your business to make the right decisions. Luckily, research suggests that in a post-Covid world, employees are primed to do just that. The latest Edelman Trust Barometer report suggests businesses have become the only trusted institutions. Why is confidence so high? Possibly because when the pandemic put companies to the test, the majority rose to the challenge. Six in 10 people believe the best thing a brand can do during the crisis is ‘look after employees’ (rising to 8 in 10 in UK). During the pandemic, businesses did just that, and saw engagement increase as a result.

The potential for leaders

When it comes to trust, there’s a huge opportunity for leaders to step up: to act as the guiding ‘north star’ for all decision-making. But it has to be genuine. To make that happen, leaders themselves need to be purpose-led. Try using leadership coaching and training to help your C-Suite find their purpose and align it with that of the company, asking themselves the big question:

“What will people and society remember me for?”
How can we help?

In recent months our teams have been working with global clients to help them become truly purpose-led. Want to do the same? Then drop us a line to discuss those all-important first steps to being a more purpose-led business.

Drop us a line to discuss. hello@mccannsynergy.com

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