Posted in:HR Governance
It’s no secret that just about everyone who launches a business does so with the aim of being successful. For countless generations, success was simply defined by financial rewards. Whereby, entrepreneurs took risks with the hope that their time and effort would yield great monetary gains and allow them to turn a respectable profit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that singular purpose, but the definition of success has certainly changed with the times.
Though our modern economy is still dependent upon successful businesses, there is a more broad definition around success itself. For instance, as Millennials become the largest active cohort within our workforce, there is a growing focus on the search for purpose within the organizational setting. Increasingly, employees want to be a part of organizations that have a vision beyond profit. As this debate rages around the role of the corporate person, we want to take a dive into ways that different sectors have created a model for success on their own individual terms.
The non-profit world is at the forefront of connecting deeper desires to a corporate vehicle. Through the agencies that are created, they are able to build an organization where employees can contribute to a greater cause and funds can be channeled back into advancing their agendas. In a well-run non-profit organization, a compelling mission can act as a catalyst for success. In such circumstances, success is often measured in terms of results or impact upon a larger cause whether it is eradicating poverty, providing education, caring for animals, or any other public good initiative.
Another industry that is receiving heightened attention is the renewable energy sector. While many companies in this sector operate on a for-profit basis, the overall focus is on finding, improving, and marketing goods and solutions that are able to make a positive impact on the environment. The measures of success in this industry are continuing to evolve, but include the amount of offset carbon emissions, number of renewable energy products sold, and overall growth of the industry. More recently, we can see this explosion in the proliferation of businesses operating wind, solar, geothermal, vibrational, water, gas, and mineral energy production companies. The debate is on which source or sources of energy will overtake fossil fuels and there continues to be a lot of innovation in this area to find the most sustainable energy source.
Taking a step back in time, more conventional oil and gas companies are also taking steps towards greater sustainability. Many have seen improvements that are measured in terms of fewer safety incidents, lower water usage during production and fewer leaks along transportation routes which are all commendable. It is evident that businesses operating in the energy production field are highly successful on a profit basis, but they also increasingly have a dual focus on safety and sustainability too.
This drive is develop greater sustainability is not confined to the energy production realm, it is also being seen within other industries like manufacturing and construction. Wherein, there is a greater focus on minimizing waste at all stages of the production or building process. By tightening up quality control within the manufacturing system, businesses are reducing the amount of rework required or waste due to defective products either being discarded by the buyer or returned to re-enter the production process. While construction businesses are working hard to lower safety hazards and keeping a better watch over materials usage. In both cases, there are hallmarks of just-in-time production methods to manage business requirements in line with demand and a focus on the human element. Whereby, success is also defined by the number of employees who leave work without incident which can have a positive impact on brand reputation and the overall ability of the business to attract more opportunities that translate into greater profits. Hence, it is quite cyclical and connected. Businesses can truly have a multi-focal purpose.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Speaking of which, companies can start on a smaller scale through Corporate Social Responsibility programs. One common approach is to offer employees paid time off to volunteer at a charity of their choice or one that the organization selects. Not only do these endeavors provide for good public relations exposure, it also has the ability to build camaraderie and boost morale. Another way to enable a larger focus beyond profit is to sponsor charitable events and initiatives, such as conservation programs, museums, or youth sporting events. Whereby, the decisions behind each donation send a clear message about what the organization cares about most. Some very large corporations also take it a step further to create corporate-backed foundations that operate as non-profits to support large-scale charitable causes.
Returning to the beginning, while financial success is still an important and worthwhile aim, there is definitely a multitude of ways to embrace a greater purpose. By opening the mind, heart, and soul; people can make the world a better place through their life’s work by taking a stand for what matters most to them. This recognition will continue to grow as the next generation finds their voice and understands the power of the collective force to create change. Hopefully, change for the better that enables people to live fulfilling lives of meaning and purpose beyond the pay cheque.
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