Purpose, not profit, is driving Britain’s workforce

Maurice Ostro
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Businesses must do more to demonstrate their commitment to a social purpose (Source: Getty)

We are living in an era of unprecedented change. As we become increasingly conscious of the social impact of business decisions, entrepreneurs have more reason than ever to build their brands around purpose – a meaningful mission that goes beyond profit.

Despite fundamental shifts regarding the purpose of business, brands are failing to respond to the demands of consumers and employees alike.

According to this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer, almost 60 per cent of the UK public do not trust big corporations to do what is right by the population, consumers, and employees.

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Businesses cannot regain trust overnight, but they must do more to demonstrate their commitment to purpose.

There is a severe lack of understanding about the opportunities created by being a purpose-led business. Brands need to recognise the moment and act on it – fast. Purpose is not only a crucial element in regaining public trust – it also increases long-term success and positively impacts productivity.

Mission-driven brands achieve higher levels of productivity compared to their solely profit-focused counterparts. According to figures from Havas’ Meaningful Brands, these socially conscious businesses have outperformed the stock market by a staggering 206 per cent over the last 10 years.

For the sake of their own success, companies must embed purpose into the very heart of what they do.

While consumers are demanding more from brands, today’s workforce is also raising the bar for businesses from within. Millennials are the change makers at the vanguard of this purpose-driven revolution.

A recent survey by PwC found that 88 per cent of millennials want to work for a company whose values reflect their own. Furthermore, a 2017 Deloitte report revealed that the majority of millennials look beyond a company’s financial performance when deciding whether or not to work there. Tellingly, only one in five would choose to stay at a solely profit-driven company for more than five years.

With millennials set to make up three quarters of the global workforce by 2025, employers have no choice but to respond to this shift in perspective. If they want to survive and thrive, they must do more to live up to expectations and attract the right talent.

Further studies have proved that these highly motivated individuals go on to be three times more productive than the average workforce, making them an incredible asset to any firm.

Household names such as Pret a Manger, Lush Cosmetics and Lego have long been leading the way in addressing major global challenges such as poverty, equality and sustainability. It comes as no surprise then to learn that Lego has consistently achieved high employee engagement scores, according to research by Human Capital Analytics Group.

The rise of the purpose-driven workforce means that businesses can no longer afford to ignore the power of purpose.

As increasing numbers of businesses harness this mission, the knock-on effect of boosting brand trust, output, and levels of employee satisfaction is significant. All the while, we will begin to see businesses channelling their resources and tackling important societal issues.

Businesses need to play a pivotal role in today’s society. They must embrace the attitude that employees and consumers alike now demand from them. This is the key that will set successful entrepreneurs and brands apart from the rest for years to come.

By putting purpose at the heart of daily decisions, businesses will see that doing good and doing well go hand in hand.

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