Purpose is top-of-mind for B2B companies this year as organizations work to integrate purpose into their structure. Ninety-three percent of companies say they are somewhere on the purpose journey, with 57% saying they are more focused on purpose today than three years ago and 42% reporting that they are still early in the purpose journey, anywhere from discussing purpose internally to assigning teams to develop it.
Companies report a range of reasoning for pursuing purpose but the majority of respondents report their motivation falls within four main categories: greater success than those without (82%), supports recruiting (75%), motivates sales teams (73%) and shows values and character in action (51%).
The study found that in most organizations, the C-suite drives purpose strategy, while HR and corporate planning functions are responsible for implementation.
While 86% of respondents say that purpose is “important” to their business, 29% report that purpose is “critical” to all they do. Despite this, only 24% said that purpose is so integral to their business that it influences culture, innovation, operations and their engagement with society. Additionally, about two-thirds of respondents don’t think their purpose has a measurable positive impact on society anyway. This discrepancy highlights a gap between the stated purpose of an organization and its “activated purpose,” or the way this notion is incorporated into the business and related processes.
So, what’s holding businesses back? Purpose can feel more like a PR exercise than a legitimate business strategy according to 56% of respondents and half (50%) say their company lacks the capacity to put purpose at the center of their strategy. Another 51% say that purpose does not play a considerable role in their competitive set, while 28% do not even have a way to measure the impact of purpose.
Purpose takes a hit from employee...