The What, The Why And The How of Purpose.

A 'need to know' guide on purpose in business.

An endless flow of business crises has shown the harm that can be done by focussing purely on profits and maximising shareholder value. We face a systematic problem – and solving it means asking deep questions about some of the basic assumptions which shape how businesses behave.

More and more people, in particular millennials, are increasingly attracted to organisations that have a purpose other than just generating profit and attracting shareholders.

As a result, businesses understand that they need to make the shift from a purely profits focus to a more fully-rounded purpose-driven focus to attract and retain talent.

CMI supported research, undertaken by Charlie Ebert of Judge Business School Cambridge, Dr Victoria Hurth of the University of Plymouth, and Prof Jaideep Prabhu of Judge Business School Cambridge, to discover WHY companies are becoming purpose-driven. The whitepaper presents interviews with leaders from 14 of the biggest UK and international brands, including BT, Unilever and Marks & Spencer exploring this topic.

Five reasons companies are becoming purpose-driven.

  • 1

    To maintain and increase legitimacy in business

  • 2

    To attract, motivate and retain talent

  • 3

    To drive strong customer and stakeholder relationships

  • 4

    To increase employee psychological wellbeing

  • 5

    To increase business performance

The bottom line result is that purpose-driven, people-centric, values-driven companies outperform. Not just because they do better sustainably over time, but because they avoid the risk. They avoid the Volkswagon and the Tesco problems, and they avoid the thing that wipes 30% off their share prices.

Ann Francke, CEO, CMI