Lesson 7 - From purpose to action: HR as the enabler of change
Statements help, but now you need to do the work
Great! Now you have a purpose statement, you announce it to everyone, you hang it on the wall of your cool office. That's it. Done. You are a purpose-driven company.
Sorry to be the breaker of bad news, but that's bullshit. And this is what happened with so many businesses around the world with vision, mission and values.
Their leadership teams did all that work to build those statements, core values, etc. Great, that was a good move. They shared them with their people, probably only once, and also when onboarding new hires, and maybe once again after they joined. Ah yes, some have it on their website too, somewhere where nobody really sees them.
Anyway, if that's all you do, don’t waste your time and energy because it will only bring the opposite result, aka frustration.
Working with many large enterprises around the world helping them improve their employee preboarding and onboarding experiences meant I had access to all this information about their mission, vision, values, etc.
The funny thing was, during conversations with people working at those organisations, even leaders would tell me they didn't think those values were real. They didn't believe the leadership team was steering the company according to those values, mission or vision.
They were just "made up." People were frustrated about that and, naturally, turnover was high, and employees weren't engaged with their job not the company.
Bringing purpose to your day-to-day activities
Think about purpose as an infinite cycle. See the picture below. You start with the discovery phase, understanding why you exist as a company, as a team, and what drives you as an individual.
Then you work on the alignment, and once you achieve it, it's time to communicate it.
That’s when the action starts. Every single action, meeting, call and team building activity needs to be aligned with why you exist as an organisation.
- Are you having a meeting to discuss how to improve your product development? Ask yourself if the reason to have that meeting is aligned with your purpose as a company.
- Are you hiring new people? Ask yourself how you can ensure candidates know your purpose and how you can see if it links to their individual purpose.
- Are you planning a new marketing campaign? Ask yourself if it will be aligned with what you are trying to achieve as a company, and why.
- Are you buying goods from a supplier? Ask yourself if that supplier has a similar purpose or whether they’re going against yours.
Source: Just on Purpose
You can put messages on every wall to remind people about this every day. Organise workshops or team building activities to remind them why they are working for you. Update all your documents and processes so that they’re in line with your company's purpose.
The key is to embed this into your daily activities so that people not only know about what your purpose is, but they live it.
An important part of this is to evaluate your results. Whatever you do in business, you must check if it's working as you expected and if not, make some corrections and evaluate again later. Data is important, and as explained before, most purpose-driven companies actually get better results. But if you don't measure and evaluate them you won't know, and they won't matter as much as they should.
Recently, 56 companies and organisations, including Accenture, Bank of America, Chevron, Deloitte, EY, Google, KPMG LLP, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, PwC, Uber, and Visa, joined the groundbreaking Gender and Diversity KPI Alliance (GDKA). This alliance supports the adoption and use of a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure gender and diversity in their organisations.
They signed an agreement committing to using or working towards the implementation of three key performance indicators to evaluate diversity in their organisation:
- Percentage of representation on an organisation’s board.
- Percentage of representation by employee category.
- Pay equality: the ratio of compensation by employee category (e.g. equal pay for equal work).
- You can read more about this here.
Why do they do that? Because they are all working on being more purpose-driven. They are building different KPIs to make sure they convert purpose into action by measuring and rewarding people for achieving those performance indicators that are aligned with their purpose.
Improve and repeat
Nothing is set in stone and neither is your purpose. While I believe your purpose, either as a person or a company, can evolve over time, your core purpose is less likely to change, or if it does, it will be on a small scale. There is a difference between your purpose and how you deliver on it.
Things change: what gives you energy or enjoyment today is not entirely the same as it was 5, 10 or 15 years ago. Conditions change, and we change too. This also applies to businesses. It’s crucial to keep revisiting your purpose to see if it is still the same, or whether it has evolved over time and you need to redefine it.
Like everything else you do, you can improve over time with practice and learn from what works and what doesn't. Then try to do better next time.
Thank you for following this course. The guys at Kenjo and I really hope that you found it valuable and that it has given you the tools to start that purpose of leadership change in your organisation.
You should really give yourself a pat on the back for persevering 👏🏼
We really hope that our course has shed some light onto the important topic of purposeful leadership and we’d love to hear from you and help you become purpose-driven
Would you like to do the course again? Here’s a recap of all our lessons:
Lesson 1: Assessment Where are you now?
Lesson 2: The importance of purpose leadership.
Lesson 4: Uncovering your purpose as an HR leader.
To learn more about Kenjo’s solution to increase employee satisfaction, click here. Grab a demo from Kenjo. We’ll show you around, and you’ll be armed with more info than when you started.