In his latest blog, Kevin Ellis, Chairman of PwC UK, writes eloquently on why purpose matters. In short, Kevin reminds us that companies with a well-defined purpose, one that balances commercial interests with a wider societal benefit, perform better than those that don't.
The legal sector has a long history of pro bono work but while pro bono work is synonymous with lawyers and barristers, the term comes from the latin, pro bono publico, meaning “for the public good” and can be carried out by any professional firm. For example, PR agencies, can (and should in my opinion) devote time to promoting the work of a chosen charity or local community project. Other professionals can spend time mentoring young people or providing inspirational talks to students.
Businesses prepared to devote time to a wider common goal will reap the rewards. On an individual level, pro bono work provides professionals with an opportunity to showcase skills. On a team level, an altruistic common purpose will help employees to stay focused, work better together and put things into perspective.
An altruistic culture will also help firms ask the right questions when it comes to supply chain management and the ethical stance of potential clients. Ultimately, such businesses will be the ones that build long term trust with stakeholders and outperform the competition.
Why purpose matters There’s a growing body of evidence that companies with a well-defined purpose, which balances the generation of profit with wider societal benefit, have higher productivity and perform better. Of course, profit generation can be of benefit to society, for example by creating a tax base for government, providing income streams to pay pensions and funding investment and further employment. But in a modern functioning economy it’s not enough - businesses need to do more, by being a force for good.