There is a meme floating around LinkedIn which says:

CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people, and then they leave us?”

CEO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

In the era of social first thinking (and maybe as a millennial), it seems like a no-brainer statement that investing in your employees is crucial to business growth. However, do businesses big and small know what it means to care about their employees? Do they believe that doing so, will improve their bottom line and grow their business?

The problem sometimes is that senior managers can assume that all employees want is more money, more benefits and, less work. However, in many cases, this isn’t true. Sure, people aren’t going to say no to better perks, but that is not what rallies people within an organization to perform their best, add-value and stay loyal.

So, what do the people want? If you look at some of the fastest growing companies from the last 20 years and the companies that have cult-like followings, you will see that the main thing that they have in common is:

  • they stand for something
  • they have a reason for existing
  • they know who they are as a brand
  • they know what they have to offer the world

It might seem idealistic, but people generally want to be a part of something bigger, a higher purpose so to speak. And for most people (non-entrepreneurs) they will achieve this through supporting their companies’ greater purpose.

The United States is ranked the best country in the world for cultivating entrepreneurship (Source: GEDI 2017), but only 6% of the population owns their own business, which is their day job (Source Kauffman Foundation 2016). This means that the majority of the working population is working within somebody else’s company and therefore need to find their life’s purpose through their day job as well as what happens outside of the office.

So, what does this mean for CEOs, CFOs and, senior management? It means that they have to ensure that their company has a core purpose, a reason for being (outside of the all-mighty dollar) and they need to work to ensure their teams align with regularly and rally around the business’ core purpose to ensure that they have an engaged and fulfilled workforce.

But how does this then affect your business’ bottom-line? Sure, it’s great that people want to come to work and do a good job but will this impact my business?

The simple answer is Yes. But don’t take my word for it, marketing guru extraordinaire Simon Sinek quite often totes – “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Sounds simple enough, but when you say it a few times, it starts to resonate. That’s because of how the brain works in making decisions and how they communicate.

Sometimes we don’t know why we do the things that we do. However, when we see a statement, a product or a person that is a representation of our personal why we can align with it or them and build an unbreakable connection. To find out more, read ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek which will delve further into the science around why knowing WHY you exist as a company is essential.

Back to improving your bottom line – according to Gallup, employee’s working for a core purpose and common goal aka engaged, show:

  • 24% – 59% less turnover
  • 10% higher customer ratings
  • 21% greater profitability
  • 17% higher productivity
  • 28% less shrinkage
  • 70% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% less absenteeism

All of these factors directly link to your bottom line and your business’s growth potential.

So, therefore, to build a core foundation for business success and growth you need:

  • Engaged employees that work for a core purpose
  • To understand that your customers buy why you do what you do
  • Make sure your business has a clear unbreakable reason for being that is lived and breathed by the wider team and stakeholders