Who’s Your Brand When Nobody is Watching?

It’s no coincidence that purpose continues to be a hot topic among corporate motivational circles. It’s a sign of the times. Purpose has always been a key indicator of human behavior, and now it is a key piece of employee retention and the continued success of a business.

Most of us agree the general purpose of running a business is for profitability, both financial and intrinsic, but I’m talking about a higher purpose, something more authentic. Creating a purpose driven organization is about helping every employee realize how they are making a difference.

Harvard Business Review recently published an article about creating a purpose driven organization. Many of the leaders they spoke to admit to having initially been skeptical about how much a purpose mattered, writing it off as empty words. Through trial and error, leaders have been finding the immense impact having a clearly defined and well communicated purpose can have on the wellness and performance of a company.

I’ve always been a big believer in purpose, in both my personal and professional life.  One of the most important jobs as a leader, is to help connect employees to their purpose. With ownership of purpose comes a willingness to go above and beyond, making surprising contributions. Employees have increased pride in their work and engagement scores soar.

However, we cannot merely create a purpose and expect it to take hold. We have to look and listen to our employees, our company, and discover the already existing purpose. This purpose must then be communicated clearly, over and over again, and guide every decision we make. We must work to connect our employees to this purpose on a daily basis.

Avoid the urge to turn your purpose into a marketing gimmick. Instead keep it personal. Talk openly with your managers about your purpose, and have them do the same with all of their teams and employees. Tell stories, share your personal identity and how it connects with your professional purpose. Let employees help drive the process so that purpose driven behaviors take hold and happen even when no one is watching.

“People who find meaning in their work don’t hoard their energy and dedication. They give them freely, defying conventional economic assumptions about self-interest. They grow rather than stagnate. They do more–and they do it better.” (Harvard Business Review )