A number of recent business events in the Channel Islands have brought into sharp focus something that we at Orchard have known for a while: corporate purpose is climbing up boardroom agendas.
September’s annual CIPR Channel Islands PR Forum made the theme explicit. Titled ‘Purposeful Profits and the Role of PR’, the Forum explored the role that public relations plays in helping organisations realise and then actualise their purpose.
At Orchard we’re constantly talking to our clients about the ways in which strategic communications can help them achieve their business objectives and the discussion about purpose is the latest iteration of that.
Why have a purpose?
One of the key reasons for establishing your purpose and clearly laying it out for employees, customers and other stakeholders is the signal it sends to the younger members of those groups. We’re constantly hearing about how millennials privilege values and social endeavour ahead of earnings but the reason it’s such a prevalent narrative is that it’s true.
The annual Jersey IoD Debate – ‘2050: Will Jersey have talent?’, taking place just two weeks after the CIPR Forum, looked at the workforce of the future and whether the island’s population will have the right digital skills to economically thrive.
Students in the room made it clear that they don’t think the current curriculum is fit for purpose and that they understand that automation and AI is fundamentally going to change the range of jobs available to them. This awareness has meant that they are hyper-aware of job satisfaction and working for a company that chimes with their values – something that can prove that an organisation has a purpose and acts on it.
Changing on purpose
Something else that young people care passionately about (and therefore a good purpose to have) is the climate change agenda.
Last Friday hundreds of schoolchildren followed their UK counterparts and took to the streets to march on the Royal Court and demand that the States of Guernsey takes action on climate change. And they were heard.
President of Policy & Resources Gavin St Pier used his opening remarks at the annual Guernsey IoD Debate to address those students directly and tell them that the government recognised not just its responsibility – but all of our collective responsibility to do something about the environmental crisis we’re in.
— BBC Guernsey (@BBCGuernsey) September 27, 2019
The whole debate was centred on climate change and students in the room were brave enough to stand up and ask business leaders who among them was willing to sign up, then and there, to a series of green principles to govern their businesses.
Clearly the implication is that businesses underestimate the next generation at their peril. These are the employees, business leaders and innovators of the future and they’re already considering what kind of purpose they want to be working for.
Corporate purpose is obviously no longer a wishy-washy notion; it’s a must-have component of a business’ core strategy.
We’re regularly advising clients on what having a purpose means, why it’s important to have one and how to identify and then embody one. This journey is not an instantaneous one – it requires reflection, honesty and patience and sometimes those things are best provided by an external expert.
So if you want to act on purpose, and think we can help you to realise that, get in touch with the Orchard team to find out how we can provide strategic communications advice to equip your business for the inevitable, purpose-driven future.