4 Tips for Becoming a Purpose Driven Company

Social good programs once thought of as ‘nice to have’ have become an integral part of the overall business plan. Studies and research have proven that a well-balanced CSR program helps retain employees and increase productivity, attracts the best talent, and boosts the bottom line. So why isn't every CSR program producing such noticeable, positive results? The answer may lie in the fine line between mission statement and corporate purpose.

The first step in enhancing, and in some cases starting, your CSR program is to look beyond the the current programs offered and go back to your corporate purpose. At the heart of the most successful CSR programs are companies driven by a higher purpose. Some companies have been created with a built-in purpose such as TOMS, Patagonia and Warby Parker. But for most companies, purpose is something that needs to be uncovered, explored and established. Connecting your CSR program to your corporate purpose helps to create a culture that speaks to all employees.

Once the purpose of your organization is outlined you’ll need to move on to helping your employees discover unique ways they can align with that purpose within the organization. Below are some tips to get you started.

4 tips to taking to your CSR program to the next level:

  1. Establish a clear corporate purpose. This is not your corporate mission statement or your passion. The corporate purpose is the ‘why’ behind your work. Not too long ago, the purpose of a business was simply profits. But today’s corporate purpose is far deeper. It is a long-term vision of social impact that drives the corporation from top to bottom. And, the good news is that having a strong purpose seems to go hand in hand with profits. “In fact, some of the greatest purpose-driven companies of our generation, like eBay, Stemcentrx, Tesla and Airbnb, have also produced some of the largest profits and highest valuations” (Forbes, The Power of Purpose-Driven).

  2. Involve corporate executives from the start. Unlike a mission statement, purpose must be embodied and lived. The best way to infuse a new sense of purpose into your organization is to have a leader who extolls it. Involve the CEO, founder, executives and leaders early on in the process and help them understand that the corporate purpose will live and die by their example. Corporate purpose is not a one-time mandate. It will be an on-going process which will grow and evolve overtime. Creating a culture of purpose will take time but will create a lasting effect on employees, the business, and the community.

  3. Include employees. It is important that employees don’t view a new found interest in purpose as a publicity stunt. Keep employees informed about the process and ask for feedback. In fact, employees are invaluable resources in identifying the corporate purpose. Having a purpose that rings true to employees will help them cultivate their own sense of purpose within the organization.

  4. Offer many opportunities to contribute. Your corporate purpose is by nature a large umbrella under which many CSR programs will fall. When considering your purpose, think about actions and undertakings that will fulfill that purpose. Be sure that there are concrete ways for contribution at the corporate and the employee level.

Many purpose driven companies find that the best way to connect with employees is by letting them contribute at the hyper-local level. After all, having a hand in building up your own community is extremely personal and fulfilling. A free service like YouGiveGoods is a great tool for companies to run multiple local events while still tracking and measuring for inclusion in the corporate narrative. Since the legwork is managed entirely by YouGiveGoods, employees can run events to raise brand-new goods for any local charity with great social impact.

Although it may seem cumbersome, there is no better time than now to begin the process of establishing or redefining your corporate purpose. Not only will you be building a more engaged workforce but you’ll be laying the groundwork for your company to be a real force for good in your community for generations to come.

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