What’s your purpose?

24 Jul

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      Is identifying your organisation’s purpose key to strengthening your employer brand? Stuart Woollard, managing partner at OMS LLP & co-founder at The Maturity Institute, explains, and gives advice on how to add value to your brand.

      How important is an employer brand to value creation? For many, it is critically important and, for some, it’s a stated strategic objective. But becoming a recognised employer of choice is only one part of the human capital value chain. For example, a much bigger value question is what you do to manage value from your human capital once you have attracted and retained the talent you want.

      Perhaps the most important factor which influences employer brand is the organisation’s value motive. Or put simply, its purpose.

      Identifying your organisation’s value motive

      Why does an organisation exist? For example, does it see its primary purpose to maximise profits for shareholders or to provide products and services for the benefit of society?

      Different underlying purposes have a profound impact on value and risk through a company’s human capital. The actual purpose of a company also has a significant impact on its employer brand – either supporting what the company says about who it is; or undermining it if a firm purports to be something it’s not.

      Purpose creates value

      Our view is that those firms who have a true societal purpose create value for all stakeholders and actually deliver greater financial returns over the long term to serve the needs of shareholders too. Such firms also have a very strong employer brand; for example, people see that working for them provides greater meaning and purpose for them individually.

      This message is also starting to be understood by key stakeholders – investors, investment managers, senior executives and also the HR community. For HR, if purpose is so important, what should they do, if anything? Can HR really have any influence on organisational purpose?

      We would say yes, if you have the appetite and desire. Our starting point is here:

      • Identify how human capital value and risk arises within your own organisational context. We use a research tested whole system approach: the 10 Pillar maturity framework.
      • Work out the business value (or risk) impact of where the biggest improvements can be made – this involves using some numbers but isn’t as hard as you might think.

      By this stage, in case it hasn’t happened yet, you’re now ready to start the conversation with senior leadership, together with some highly compelling evidence. This may not even mention your firm’s purpose but what you will find is that any conversation about how to truly generate sustained value from people is one that simply cannot ignore it.

      Watch the full speaker presentations from the day, below:

      Tom Crawford, MD, The Brain Miner

      Stuart Woollard, managing partner, OMS LLP & co-founder, The Maturity Institute

      Kevin Hough, head of resourcing, LV=

      Changeboard and SMRS will run a second Future Talent Workshop in October 2015. Stay up-to-date by following our Twitter: @Changeboard, and liking our Facebook and LinkedIn pages: Changeboard.

      Written by Stuart Woollard

      Stuart Woollard

      Stuart is managing partner at OMS LLP and co-founder of the Maturity Institute. He previously worked as International HR Director and UK managing director at E*TRADE Financial and was director of the King’s & Cornell International HRM Academy.

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