The topics of purpose, ESG, and DE&I have been consistent themes of conversation throughout 2022. For as many opinions that exist on the matters, there are as many, if not more, approaches that companies have employed while attempting to create lasting impact in the space. 

While some have found a strategy that works, many have yet to implement policies and practices that not only communicate corporate values but integrate them just as effectively. Demonstrating awareness of the issues by way of lip service alone is no longer satisfactory by consumer and investor standards. Not only do intentions have to be good, the right strategy must also be in place for it to work. 

In this episode of the PRovoke Media podcast, SVP of Strategy and Global Head of PR and IR Solutions at Notified, Sylvie Harton, shares what makes a purpose authentic, and how companies can make sure the work they’re doing in this space is meaningful to their internal and external audiences. 

One idea Harton frequently circles back to reflects on the question of if an organization were to disappear, what would the world miss by its absence? 

That is your reason for being, she says.  It may be a heavy question, but for Harton, the answer does not have to be as moving and life-changing as people believe it has to be. 

“There’s some confusion with people that purpose needs to automatically equate to ‘I’m going to solve world hunger’ or ‘I’m going to solve cancer,’ and so on and so forth,” she said. “Purpose doesn’t have to be nonprofit-oriented. Purpose has to do with the organization’s reason for being and its positive impact on the world.”

Once that “thing” is identified, Harton says people must act on it, with all stakeholders in alignment. She believes that too often companies spend their resources coming up with purpose statements and do nothing beyond that, when in fact it needs to be woven into every facet of the organization. 

“In order for your purpose to resonate with everyone in the organization, you have to be consistent with how you communicate it, and you must communicate it repeatedly,” she said. 

Harton also discusses important it is for leaders to really buy into the strategy. Without their commitment, she believes organizations won’t see results. 

“In this era, post-pandemic, we’ve become a little bit more humanized,” she said. “So, it’s important to feel comfortable and congruent with the values of your organization. It would be really hard to push an ESG posture or strategy if you’re in misalignment with those shared values.”

This conversation with Notified is a two-part series. This is the first installation of the series.