BRIDGE met with HR Directors and Heads of CSR of some of Asia’s most progressive businesses recently at an event hosted by Elliott Scott HR and held at LinkedIn office in Singapore.

Simon McKenzie (Mac), Managing Director of BRIDGE Asia-Pacific spoke on how businesses can be even more successful by being purpose-led.

A Purposeful Advantage can be gained when organisational capabilities, customer/consumer needs and societal needs intersect. This translates to much more than Corporate Social Responsibility – it’s smart business. Lifebuoy, Dove, Patagonia and Interface are organisations that are purpose-driven and have produced incredible financial results whilst making the world fairer, safer and more sustainable.

Businesses have the power and opportunity to make a difference in the world beyond their bottom line and align their goals to significant causes. The UN in 2015 set out 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030 and articulate the challenges of our time. Mac highlighted three of these goals (Climate Action, Peace & Justice, Zero Hunger) and explained that these goals will most likely not be delivered without the support of the business community.

Mac highlighted three areas where HR leaders can drive Purposeful Advantage in their organisations.

  • Develop a Purposeful Advantage strategy. This is the interface between what your organisation is good at, what the market wants and what society needs. Clearly, developing a Purposeful Advantage strategy requires engagement, resolve and commitment at the very highest levels of the organisation, including the CEO.
  • Create a ‘Teal-like’ Culture. If you have an amazing strategy but mediocre culture then your organisation’s success can be limited. However, if you have a fantastic culture then you can do amazing things even if your strategy is mediocre. The most powerful cultures are where people feel cared about, find deep meaning in their work and become the best version of themselves. Remember: “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
  • Develop purpose-led leaders. Organisations who want to pioneer this path need leaders whose purpose goes far beyond their own self-interest. They need leaders who are brilliant at inspiring the many, are unstoppable in their courage and able to think of infinite ways to solve the complex challenges that they and the world face.

Why now? By 2025, millennials will account for 75% of the workforce and they form the most purpose-oriented group to enter the workforce with a clear majority wanting their skills to be used for good (source: Fast Company)

Singapore | 21 September 2017