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Organizational Change
Becoming a Purpose Professional:
Using Your Career to Become a Greater Force for Good

Regardless of your company’s social purpose or your role within it, there are numerous, tangible ways to make your own job — and your life — more rewarding, while helping your organization be part of creating a better world.

More and more companies are adopting a social purpose as the reason for being. There are different definitions of a social-purpose business; but fundamentally, it is a business whose reason for being is to create a better world. This includes profitably solving the problems of people and planet while not causing harm to them in doing so. It is the company’s optimal strategic contribution to long-term wellbeing for all.

Purposeful businesses go beyond mere declarations; they actively integrate their purpose into everything they do. Failure to do so puts them at risk of purpose-washing. Execution of their purpose involves embedding it in governance — all the way through the internal audit and risk function, marketing and HR. Given the importance of metrics to steer a company on its purpose journey, marketers and human resource managers need a gauge of social purpose take-up within customer segments and the workforce. Leading companies are turning to purpose perception surveys to measure the company’s purpose authenticity and the stakeholders’ alignment and willingness to engage on the purpose. Here are a few examples of these survey questions: “I believe the company is authentic and purpose-driven,” “By being in a relationship with this company, I feel I contribute to making the world a better place,” and “I feel inspired to contribute to the company’s purpose.”

But to really get purpose liftoff, businesses should spend the first six months to a year raising internal awareness of the new purpose, helping employees understand how a social purpose business differs from other types of business, and equipping employees with the knowledge and skills to bring the company’s purpose to life in their own roles, teams, and departments.

While this tool doesn’t cover all roles, as it is geared to those in professional functions, here is a guide to help employees, particularly at the management and leadership levels, become a “Social-Purpose Professional.”

Defying Online Algorithms with Authentic, Impactful Storytelling

Join us as representatives from BarkleyOKRP lead a thought-provoking discussion with two brands that care deeply about their workers' rights and wellbeing, Tony's Chocolonely and Driscoll's, about how to successfully involve consumers in social-justice issues with authentic storytelling that defies online algorithms — Friday, May 10, at Brand-Led Culture Change.

A social-purpose professional is a senior leader in a purpose-driven company who not only embraces the organization’s social purpose but also seeks to embed it in their department and functional teams, and even across their broader profession. They become a force for good in their organization and beyond. They encourage other businesses in their ecosystem to adopt a social purpose and engage professional peers within and outside the organization to become purpose-driven. They are role models for social-purpose decision-making, and actively champion social purpose within and beyond their organization and profession.

The benefits are manifold. Naturally, a social-purpose professional can help guide the company to authentically implement its purpose and mitigate the risk of it being accused of purpose-washing. A living corporate social purpose will help you attract, engage and motivate values-based employees and teams; and will build your personal brand within and outside the company. This social-purpose expertise can be added to your resume and — most importantly — bring more meaning to your work.

The Social-Purpose Professional is a must-read resource for employees in social-purpose companies to stretch your thinking about how you can help bring your company’s purpose to life. It includes tips on:

  • Learning about social purpose

  • Establishing a social-purpose peer reference group or community of practice

  • Engaging your team to integrate social purpose in its mandate

  • Mobilizing your ecosystem to take up social purpose

  • Adopting a personal purpose

  • Building your profile as a purpose-driven leader

Examples of social-purpose professionals abound, as they passionately drive purpose forward and leverage their personal influence in their organizations and beyond to advance the purpose economy. A recent example involves Tom Chervinsky, a government-relations leader on the public-policy team at global technology company TELUS, who is reaching out to counterparts of other social-purpose companies — inviting them to participate in a federal government campaign to make Canada a hub for social-purpose business. He believes doing so is an extension of his mandate to help his company and his community thrive. He wants to play a meaningful role furthering social purpose in business, to bring his company’s own purpose – to leverage technology and compassion to enable remarkable human outcomes – to life.

Regardless of your company’s social purpose or your role within the company, there are numerous tangible ways to use your career as a greater force for good. You’ll make your own job — and your life — more rewarding; and at the same time, help your organization to be part of creating a better world.