Purpose: companies that practice are more profitable and competitive

The job market is constantly changing and evolving. It is made up of organizations which, in turn, are made up of people. Thus, as a society changes, this mutation directly reflects on the economy and within companies. It is an ecosystem that feeds back on itself.

The new generations that come to the market have other aspirations than those of the past. This is noticeable and a challenge for new managers. In view of this scenario, a movement to create a company’s purpose has been growing within organizations. According to Hugo Bethlem, president of Instituto Capitalismo Consciente and head of purpose at a risktech, “purpose is a company’s reason for existence, it is the essence of what the organization does.”

On the personal side, purpose is what motivates us to wake up every morning to do what we do. Thus, those who have a purpose do not go to work because they need to earn money, but because they believe that what they do can make a difference in society, or simply because they believe that it is a means to achieve something, for example.

Purpose, therefore, is what unites employees and managers towards a common goal, it is the attribute that aligns people in an organization with the company’s vision, mission and values. This concept goes beyond just looking at employees, as it applies to all of a company’s stakeholders: suppliers, customers, community, shareholders and investors. But here we are going to keep under the prism of the human development of institutions.

According to a survey conducted in August last year by McKinsey, a consultancy, 70% of the 1,021 respondents define their personal purpose through work. In a poll conducted by Estadão with LinkedIn users on employment, well-being and happiness, “finding the purpose” was the most voted answer by 819 people. For them, purpose would be one of the fundamental aspects of being happy at work.

In practice, what we see are managers looking to their employees for less and less purely technical skills. The focus is mainly on behavior, character and alignment between professionals and the organization’s values ​​and purpose. A study by the Latin American division of international recruitment consultancy PageGroup, Acidades 360, shows that Brazilian executives are the most concerned about soft skills. According to the document, 68.7% of Brazilian leaders give more importance to the lack of social skills to make the decision in a dismissal.

Here is a point of attention that purpose-focused management proposes: hiring for behavior and not for technical skills. Companies that think like that and act like that – because saying they do it is very different from applying it in practice – are more competitive.

Organizations driven by a greater purpose – such as bringing meaning and positive impact to the world – have a financial return of up to 5.5 times the average of companies that have shares in B3 (São Paulo Stock Exchange), according to a survey carried out by Humanizada, startup specialized in diagnosing the quality of relationships between organizations and stakeholders. This confirms the theories of Economics of Purpose, by Aaron Hurst, an American consultant, who since 2014 proposes that the subject be studied as a science.

Another fact that demonstrates this importance is the retention of talent. According to research by the Harvard Business Review, employees of purpose-built organizations demonstrate twice as much job satisfaction and are three times more likely to stay in place.

A recent fringe benefit for purposeful businesses is associated with the new generation of consumers. Millennials (people born from 1995 to 2010) are socially aware consumers and identify with companies that treat employees fairly and make contributions to the betterment of society. A study by Cone Communications Group points out that nearly 89% of millennials want brands with great meaning.

Finally, before closing, there is a caveat:

The quest for purpose must be true and not to be confused with social cause.

Being what inspires is when we are clear about why a company exists, making it an act of inspiration for employees, customers, suppliers, communities and everyone involved in its ecosystem.

So focus on purpose. Increasingly, meaningless marks and transformations in our lives will not be tolerated. The common good and empathy will become the business rule in a very short time and professionals need to be adapted to this universe.


Flavio Generoso Valiati, CEO of Vamos Subir and leader in the Education segment at Zoom in Brazil.

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