Why purpose matters to workplace transformation

by Ruth Rowan

10 November 2020

A building with grass growing on top of it

Here for the future

The definition of what makes a company great is increasingly linked to its purpose, ambition and contribution to the world.

The line between what happens inside an organization and what’s seen from the outside no longer exists. Values, purpose and culture inform both the employer brand and the consumer- or client-facing brand – how the organization is perceived by current and future employees, as well as the people and companies that buy its products or consume its services.

As a result, our definition of ‘why we’re here’ has changed to encompass more than what the business does or offers. Having a clearly defined purpose that employees and customers can relate to is becoming increasingly important to long-term success.

Great talent wants to work for great companies

Findings from the 2020 Intelligent Workplace Report show the vast majority of organizations agree sustainability has a role to play in attracting and retaining talent, building brand reputation and customer loyalty, and the financial performance of the business – all of which contribute to the long-term success of organizations.

89.4% of organizations agree a sustainable workplace helps attract and retain talent.’ 2020 Intelligent Workplace Report

Understanding what matters to current and future employees plays a significant role in our ability to hire the best people in the market. We know people value the ability and choice to work from anywhere – a home office, co-working environment or a local workplace that’s been designed for collaborative and activity-based working. We also recognize that the sustainability lens of our organization plays a key role in influencing where people choose to work.

As we implement policies and redesign physical workspaces for this more agile way of working, we’re focusing on environmental factors that will contribute to both employee wellbeing and our sustainability goals.

Progress on sustainability initiatives earns the right to partner with clients and end consumers

Another rising trend we’ve seen more recently is the requirement to demonstrate our commitment to sustainable development to our clients. In this Decade of Action, organizations are committing to being strategic partners based on a shared vision of making a positive impact on the world. And, increasingly, consumers are choosing to purchase from brands that are committed to helping make the world a better place.

Transparency and reporting on how we’re measuring and tracking our progress towards critical sustainability goals – from environmental factors such as carbon output to workforce diversity and talent development – is becoming a prerequisite to partnering with other businesses, particularly in strategic, long-term deals. We’re likely to see these commitments become more formalized in contracts that align certain targets with what our clients are seeking to achieve.

Using technology to drive sustainability

Technology was already shaping the way we configure smart buildings for wellbeing and EX. The global pandemic has made this even more critical to informing the choices we make, as individuals, and for our employees.

As a technology company, we’re passionate about using technology to drive sustainability in our own business. From a workplace perspective, that means leveraging cloud-based applications and tools to enable people to work effectively and securely from anywhere. And, when they do come into an office, real-time data helps us manage access to buildings and show people where they can work safely.

 

Looking more broadly, we believe technology is key to solving larger human problems and creating better working and living environments, in a sustainable way.

As a Business Avenger for Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities, we’ve joined 15 other organizations to raise awareness of the goals and what needs to happen to achieve them. We’re investing in technologies that will help us reduce energy consumption in our own business, and we’re committed to improving society through technology, innovation and research.

We have a clear sense of purpose: to enable the connected future. We understand what matters to the people who work for us and with us. We’re transparent about where we are as an organization, where we want to be, and how we’re going to get there. We’re here for the long term and we’re here to make a difference.

Read our 2020 Intelligent Workplace Report.

Ruth Rowan

Ruth Rowan

Chief Marketing Officer, NTT Ltd.