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Our purpose: to create a genuine human impact

  • Posted on December 17, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

This article originally appeared as a blog post on LinkedIn.

When I stepped into the role of CEO at Avanade in September, one of the first things I did was formally introduce our company’s purpose. Not our vision, our mission or even our values. Those are vitally important and guide how we do business every day. Our purpose, however, is why we do what we do.

Avanade’s company purpose is to make a genuine human impact, something that is both personal to me and more important to organizations today than ever before.

As the chief executive of a technology company, it is easy to get lost in what innovation can do for our clients and their customers. We can make their business processes faster, more effective and accurate. We can help deliver ambitious business goals. We can help them digitally transform their organizations in ways that were unimaginable only a few years ago.

But our purpose is bigger than that. It is what inspires all of us to look beyond the technology to the actual human impact of the work we do. Like making it possible for doctors to provide treatment plans for four times more cancer patients than before. Or improving the way veterans’ services are delivered. Or helping funeral counselors focus on the families they are serving instead of on paperwork. Even a basic technology upgrade can offer airline passengers a better customer experience. All examples of genuine human impact.

What’s interesting, of course, is that the idea of a company having a purpose, in addition to just shareholder value, is now gaining momentum in the marketplace – and for good reason. At Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit, it was called out as essential for competitive hiring.

At Avanade, we see this every day in our campus recruiting. The graduates and interns that I talk to want to work for a company that cares about more than its bottom line, one that provides opportunities to leave this world better than it was before.

Earlier this year, the Business Roundtable, comprised of CEOs from leading U.S. companies, agreed, saying explicitly that companies’ responsibilities must extend beyond what’s good for their shareholders to what’s good for their employees and communities.

The Harvard Business Review says that, “Purpose and profit tend to go together. If the company has a strong corporate purpose, its employees will feel greater meaning and impact in their jobs.” That same study concluded that engaged employees are significantly more productive. In fact, companies with high levels of purpose outperform the market by 5%-7% per year.

However, and this is important, citing Harvard Business Review again, “the link between purpose and profitability is present only if senior management has been successful in diffusing that sense of purpose further down in the organization, especially in middle management, and in providing strategic clarity throughout the organization on how to achieve that purpose.”

As leaders, that is our responsibility: to make our purpose an integral part of our culture. At Avanade, I have already seen it embraced enthusiastically and I’m committed to uncovering new ways our work is having a genuine human impact on our clients, their customers, our employees and our recruits. It’s good business – and the right thing to do.

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