the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
“the purpose of the meeting is to appoint a secretary”
“the purpose of my company is [INSERT PURPOSE HERE]”
What is the purpose of your company?
What would you insert where you see [INSERT PURPOSE HERE] above? Would it be the same as your colleagues?
If you started your company yourself;
- Can you remember why?
If you work for someone else;
- Did they tell you why when they employed you?
Regardless of if you are working for yourself or someone else – do you know what the purpose of your company is right now? Do you know what a purpose is?
If you type “purpose” into google the three suggestions are:
- Purpose tour merch
- Purpose lyrics
- Purpose synonym
I am interested in the third suggestion – the synonyms of purpose and how they are used in business day to day in place of the word purpose. It took following the first two suggestions for me to realise that Purpose is the name of a Justin Bieber song. Clearly, I am not up with the times…
The synonym list (with examples) was in four groups and read (largely) as follows:
1. motive, motivation, grounds, cause, impetus, occasion, reason, point, basis, justification
“the main purpose of his visit”
2. intention, aim, object, objective, goal, end, plan, scheme, target; ambition, aspiration, desire, wish, hope
“the trade unions insisted that their purpose was not to subvert the market economy”
3. advantage, benefit, good, use, usefulness, value, merit, worth, gain, profit, avail, result, outcome, effect;
“I cannot see any purpose in just saying no”
4. function, role;
“the original purpose of this large porch was to shelter pilgrims”
I think the purpose we talk about in business is best matched with the first group. Words like motivation, reason and point are a part of many employee’s responses when asked about their job or a task.
“What is your motivation for coming to work today?”
“I know you want me to do this, but can you tell me the reason why?”
“What is the point of us completing this task?”
The second group contains words that would be more like your vision than your purpose. I think company vision could be a whole other article so I will leave that group for now. Group three is what your Sales and Marketing team should be (and hopefully your clients are) communicating out to the people about your product or service. Function and Role is more operational.
Whilst Simon has his theories and will sell you keynote speaking, workshops and the like, you don’t have to go that far to begin to outline your company’s purpose.
HR Central recently embarked on this process internally.
The approach was to engage all staff members and have them talk about HR Central, not only what we do, and what they as team membes do, but to explore what they see as the company’s purpose and as their individual purpose within the company. To do this, we executed several initiatives including; surveys, workshops, offsite sessions, external facilitators (a big shout out to Alon from Composure Group), the combination of which allowed the most important aspect of the process; genuine, enthusiastic and real discussions across, and including contributions from, the entire HR Central team.
Within these discussions, many thoughts and ideas were floated, explored and fleshed out. Some of these were directly related to purpose, some to broader topics about the business, some at a macro level and some more micro. The result being that we had the makings of a purpose that we all agreed on.
From there we had to articulate it – so we could live it. We want everyone to know it internally, but we also want to share it with all the stakeholders in our business. We want you all to know why HR Central exists and what we are about.
A subcommittee was nominated and after much deliberation our purpose (which has been agreed to by the entire team is:
Peace of mind through the power of partnership.
Tailored Solutions for your people.
Given that our services are often helping business owners in an area that they are not familiar with and as a result often worrying about. Peace of mind was a key element to us.
The partnership aspect was a key thread across our discussions as we don’t want to be looked upon as a transactional consultancy firm chasing a fee. We are looking to build a partnership with everyone we engage with. This still applies, even if the initial engagement looks to be a ‘one off’.
The fact that our responses are very much based on the company and situation meant that a focus on the fact that we have bespoke solutions was key. Hence we ended up with “Tailored solutions”.
Everything we do is for people. Your people fits well for business owners as it is seen to be their staff, but in this case your people applies in many ways. Regardless of your level in the company, your people could be the entire team, your local team, your department, your direct reports, your managers and/or any combination of these.
In going through the process of defining and articulating our purpose, we also decided that to support our purpose, we need to outline the way we operate, so people know not only why we exist, but also how we execute. This is our contract with ourselves and stake holders about the way things are done here at HR Central. In other words, “The HR Central Way”
We are listeners first, to speak your language so we are all on the same page.
We know best practice, but we challenge it and are not afraid to find better ways.
We partner with you to the end and take pride in achieving success
Coupling our shared purpose and “The HR Central Way” and putting it out to the public not only in our digital media but in our day to day actions ensures that everyone associated with HR Central knows our why as well as our how.
So does everyone in your business know why? Why not?