Formerly a professor of Food and Beverage and Service Operations Management at the world-renowned Ecole Hotelier de Lausanne, Ian Scarth has a background in strategic development and leadership within the hotel and hospitality sectors.
he gives readers of The Business Exchange his insights into what it means to be
a Purpose-driven organisation.
Purpose-driven organisations: Part 1
leaders claim to have a Purpose that’s clear, well defined and communicated
throughout their organisation.
making that Purpose sustainable, so it adapts to ever changing business needs
and keeps up with market expectations, while all the time keeping team members
informed and on-side, is a much bigger challenge.
being on-side and involved is high on the wish list of employees that now seek
an inclusive working environment in which to develop and grow.
organisations are very clear about their need to create economic benefit,
maintain legal obligations and generate long term shareholder value. However,
in today’s business world these are givens that need to be complimented by less
tangible and harder to measure stakeholder expectations.
Higher Purpose is more aspirational and provides a sense of meaning that
attracts support from employees at all levels. It also appeals to buyers that
want to feel they are considered and that their needs are being imbedded into
the process of designing both products and services.
early 21st century has delivered extraordinary challenges. The
recession of 2008, the devastation of Covid-19 and its economic aftermath, the
complexities of Brexit, an uncertain US election fought in a climate of never
seen before hostility.
events, however, have helped many leaders reach a similar conclusion: they need
to get their employees on track and involved to a greater degree than ever
before. The circumstances have also raised employee expectation and a desire on
their part for greater involvement and inclusion in the control of their own
destiny and the achievements of the organisations.
are seeking increased participation in the creative process and the many
initiatives that result in the construction and fulfilment of company strategy.
They are expecting their organisations to show increased empathy and use
appropriate rhetoric that demonstrates inclusion and encourages participation
at all stages of the planning, actioning and reviewing processes.
employees value their self-worth more than ever and expect leaders to respect
and nourish that worth. There is an expectation on the part of those entering
the job market, and those presently established within it, that their
self-worth will be recognised and cultivated.
light of this, a company’s Purpose needs to reflect the ambitions of its
people, ensuring that while delivering shareholder value, ROI and market share,
it focuses on the needs of internal stakeholders as never before. For some
years now we’ve travelled a road through the experience economy, in which
product and service quality alone, no longer cuts it. Today’s employees are
shouting out for the same intangible and ‘unmeasurable’ benefits, all of which
if provided, will drive the shareholder values mentioned.
appreciate the benefits they get from their employers and become unsettled if
these are taken away. Over the last eighteen months of Covid many companies
have changed their employee benefits and shown greater levels of trust in their
staff. Realising for example that working from home does have benefits and can
be a win-win. Taking such benefits away or reducing them without serious
consultation, will impact cultural beliefs and challenge organisational
stability. Organisations need to involve employees in the process of
reassessing the pros and cons that have come out of the Covid crisis, before
making snap decisions about returning to any elements of the old norm.
potential danger here, is that we all need and deserve recovery time and the
opportunity to settle back into some kind of normality. While this is certainly
true, it will inevitably push any learning gained from this pandemic towards
the back of people’s minds, this could result in organisations not taking full
advantage of the knowledge gained from this crisis. Maximum advantage must be
derived from the present situation, by setting a vision of what an inspired and
Purpose-driven organisations looks like to employees and its customers.