All Articles Leadership Management Want to engage team members? Formalize your servant purpose

Want to engage team members? Formalize your servant purpose

Companies need a specific "servant purpose" that provides employees a sense of pride in how they serve customers and clients.

3 min read


Video Transcript:

Workers continue to express frustration with their companies and jobs. A recent study by UKG found that 46% of employees worldwide would not recommend their company or their profession to someone they care about.

UKG’s Chris Mullen says the most dissatisfied workers are those who make between $100,000 and $200,000 annually. For these folks, pay isn’t a concern. What is a concern are lousy managers, toxic work cultures and the lack of workplace meaning.

The “purpose” problem has been an issue for years. A 2019 Gallup study notes that only four in 10 US employees know what their company stands for.

Formalizing your company’s servant purpose — its present day “reason for being” — helps employees understand how the work they do contributes to improving customers’ quality of life.

Your company’s servant purpose needs to clearly communicate what you do, who your customers are and how your products and services positively impact customers and communities.

Let’s look at two different company purpose statements.

This first sample purpose statement is: “Creating superior value for our customers, employees, partners and shareholders.”

Does this statement describe what the company does — what its products or services are? No. They are a tire company — but you’d never know it from seeing this statement.

Does this statement specify who their customers are? No.

Does this statement formalize “to what end” employees toil — how their products or services improve customers’ quality of life? No.

Here’s a different company’s purpose statement: “To discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.”

Does this statement describe what the company does? Yes.

Does this statement describe their customer? Yes. Their customers are patients with serious diseases.

Does this statement specify how the company’s products or services improve customers’ quality of life? Yes.

This company’s innovative medicines help patients prevail over serious diseases. Leaders reinforce team members’ contributions to this servant purpose frequently — which helps employees understand that they’re doing meaningful work.

Take the time to formalize your company’s servant purpose. Get agreement on it, then communicate it frequently, validating aligned ideas, efforts and accomplishments.


Chris Edmonds is a speaker and author as well as executive consultant, founder and CEO with The Purposeful Culture Group. He has authored or co-authored seven books, including “The Culture Engine” and “Good Comes First.” Edmonds’ videos, posts and podcasts are available at DrivingResultsThroughCulture. Follow Edmonds on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Apple Podcasts.

Opinions expressed by SmartBrief contributors are their own.


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