Values and purpose – airy-fairy corporate fluff or a force for business growth?

Values and purpose create a force that powers business growth.  They’re now seen as fundamental aspects of a brand to get right...

Written by Wyseminds · 2 min read >

Values and purpose create a force that powers business growth. 

They’re now seen as fundamental aspects of a brand to get right because without them a business will lack direction and this can damage employee motivation, customer satisfaction, and ultimately the happiness and wellbeing of you, the founder. 

But what do we mean when we use these terms? Aren’t they just airy-fairy fluffy stuff softening the hard edges of the corporate world? 

Pre-pandemic you may have had good reason for thinking this. Many employers spoke of how they valued their people and work culture but in reality acted in a way that was no different to the old-school business leadership style that would, for instance, not trust a staff member to work from home.

In today’s world of business, values and purpose are taking an ever more prominent seat at the top table.

Guiding human behaviour 

Values are the beliefs that you hold that motivate you to act the way you do. They guide human behaviour and in business, serve as the concepts that everyone needs to remember in order to be the best they can.  

The values you live by in your personal life like who you connect to, the friends you have, the hobbies you do and the ways in which you bring up your children or care for others – these will, by default, be reflected in the way you choose to run your business. 

When you channel as many of your core values and purpose into what you do, you bring clarity and meaning to what your company stands for. When they’re in sync, these principles make for a formidable force, driving energy throughout a business and supporting decision-making, good teamwork and collaboration.  

The restless workforce and the rise of values-based brands

After Covid, there was the The Great Resignation, the outcome of a restless workforce whose priorities had changed. 

They knew technology could let them work in different ways that would allow them a better work-life balance. They were more aware of mental health issues and the life choices that affect them including where and how they work.

Employers realised that salary and benefits were no longer enough to attract the best candidates and values-based HR started gaining more momentum. It appealed to a new cohort of candidates inspired by work with meaning.

The business value of values-based HR

This change is reflected in the recent announcement by business platform LinkedIn of a new values-based job search filter as a way to hire and select new recruits. The filter will “make it easier for jobseekers to discover open job opportunities that align with their values” by sifting job ads according to what the company’s approach is to diversity and inclusion and work-life balance

It follows research showing that jobs that list values in an advert attract up to 3x more views while misaligned values can be a deal breaker for more than two-thirds of people in the US. The study also claims 87 percent of respondents say working for a company that demonstrates a commitment to the culture and values they believe in is important.

This is such an important piece in the knowledge jigsaw. While algorithms may be taking over the world, the planet is still very much inhabited by people and putting the right ones in place throughout your business – and keeping them there – is a prerequisite for growth and success. 

Freeing yourself to do what you do best

As an entrepreneur, you will no doubt have attended numerous courses teaching you the skills of leading a business. But in our view, nothing’s more important than instilling a sense of values and purpose and finding ways to keep those alive throughout the everyday humdrum of printers that won’t print, dodgy WiFi, inboxes that won’t be tamed and difficult customers or suppliers.

Appreciation is a massive motivator in all areas of life. Regularly reminding your team why you do what you do and why their role matters will reinforce their commitment to your business goals. It truly is the best way to manage your people.  

Try taking a leaf out of LinkedIn’s move to support values-based recruitment and embed yours into the interview process. Then surround yourself with people who do the work better than you so you can free yourself up to be a more effective leader and focus on what you do best – growing your company.

For an enlightening listen, tune in to Episode 36 of the Leading From The Middle podcast to hear more on this topic from Wyseminds founder Julie Perkins who helps female entrepreneurs grow their companies. She discusses the strengths of values and purpose with podcast host Kenny McQuiller, and how she truly believes they’re the life force of business success.