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Dec 4, 2023
Academy Member

Find out what was discussed during the last Academy Members' Meeting of the year focused on Employee Engagement through Purpose!

In the dynamic landscape of today's corporate world, where competition is fierce and talent is sought after, companies are increasingly recognising the profound impact of purpose on employee engagement. A recent workshop, organised by Academy of Givers and led by Mandy Calleja, Head of Corporate Communications at GO, brought together diverse organisations eager to explore the strategies that drive success in this crucial aspect of organisational culture.

Ms Calleja offered a first hand account of GO’s journey towards becoming a purpose-led organisation, the challenges faced and the lessons learnt. This article serves as basis to understand the path toward a workplace where employees not only contribute but thrive, fuelled by a sense of meaning and shared purpose. We thank Mandy and GO’s commitment as members of the Academy, who unravelled the key principles and transformative experiences that elevated GO to a purpose-driven business, and which promises that ‘no-one is left behind’ and does so with engaged and empowered staff.

The journey starts with understanding your Purpose and how your business can make a difference.

As Colin Mayer from the Oxford Said Business School stated, the role of business is

"to produce profitable solutions to the problems of people and the planet, and not profit from producing problems for people or planet".

Today we see a need from viewing businesses solely as profit generators to recognising their pivotal role in crafting sustainable and socially responsible solutions. Today businesses are challenged to become agents of positive change, committed to produce not only financial returns but also solutions that address the multifaceted challenges faced by both people and the planet. The pursuit of profit is intricately woven into a fabric of purposeful problem-solving, ensuring that businesses not only thrive but contribute meaningfully to the betterment of society and the planet we call home.

Insights from the workshop:

Firstly, it’s important to understand ‘in today’s stressed world, what should be the role of business and what should be its responsibilities?’. What’s the right thing to do?

GO kicked off its journey to bring purpose to life back in 2019 by trying to understand how it can inspire a culture at GO that enables all of its people to be at their very best, more/most of the time and how it can better Malta and its people even better.  It wanted to find ways for its people to come to work for reasons beyond the paycheck and to offer services that go beyond telecoms products. They also realised that this couldn’t be done alone and brought in an external consultant to facilitate this journey.

How to go about your purpose-drive journey:

1. Understand what kind of legacy you (both as a business, and personally) want to leave for the generations to come.

2. Understand the role your business could play in making a better world.

3. Ask the questions: What problems are you trying to solve? What are the profitable solutions to address these problems? What do I need to do this?

4. Bring in everyone in the company to brainstorm and share:

  • What they love best about the company’s culture
  • What needs to be done / improved to have an even more thriving, high performing culture.
  • What are the company’s values and do we live by them - EVERYDAY?
  • What kind of cultural attributes do you want/need as an organisation and how is the company doing in delivering them?

5. Ask and work with your team and external stakeholders to understand how your company can maximise its positive impact on Maltese society?

6. Understand why you exist as a business and start to identify your purpose.

7. How can your business create long-term value for employees, customers, citizens as well as for shareholders?

8. What culture do you need to do this?

9. How is your giving strategy aligned with your purpose?

10. From your insights see where change and improvements can be made. See how you can go beyond your current ways and then develop a road map of where you are, where you wish to be and what you need to do to get there.

11. Be sure to communicate and clearly show your purpose to all your stakeholders. It not only helps everyone to be on the same page but allows you to be accountable of what you’ve set out to do.

12. Get your board members to be part of the journey.

Employee Engagement

How do you ensure that your staff are on board and moving forward with this journey? How can you empower and engage your staff to be leaders and own the vision?

GO identified ‘Purpose Champions’ from each department. They were tasked to test the new direction, the compass, before launching, to ensure that they were putting their purpose into practice and to understand what works before launching company wide.

It was also important to ensure that employees were partners in purpose, they felt ownership in wanting to live the purpose and values everyday. They were proud to be part of the positive impact such actions would have. Ultimately becoming a purpose led organisation is all about action, not words.

GO continues to invest heavily in the financial, mental and emotional wellbeing of their staff, which is in line with their purpose, and this saw a number of benefits for staff, including paid unlimited mobile, landline, TV and internet at home, two days extra paid time off per year, 4 weeks paid time off for women experiencing pregnancy loss and unlimited paid therapy sessions amongst a host of other well-being initiatives.

How to go about your employee engagement:

1. Include your staff in the process. Seek feedback, ALL THE TIME.

2. Identify champions to lead the change.

3. Ensure everyone is empowered to own and be inspired to want to be part of the change.

4. Have yearly conversations – what's working, what isn’t?

5. Create surveys and collect data on employee satisfaction.

6. Make sure you have the right people on the ‘bus’ – are the people you’re employing the right people to drive your purpose forward? Do they fit your culture?

7. Create spaces for staff to discuss, get feedback, share and learn together.

8. Recognise and reward those who truly live your company’s values.

9. Share stories and communicate the impact.

10. Invest in the financial, mental, and emotional wellbeing of your people.

11. Measure your success and employee satisfaction. You need to understand if you’re reaching your purpose and are on track.

Their change to a purpose-driven company didn’t happen overnight. Three years on, they are still working at it, becoming leaders in what they do and how they operate.

What did GO learn?

  • It’s difficult to do it alone. Engage the services of an external expert to help keep you on track, especially in the early stages of your journey.
  • Accept that culture transformation takes time. Consistency and perseverance is key.
  • Detractors will slow you down considerably. You need to take action.
  • Build your purpose brand consistently, across multiple channels.
  • Feedback is critical.
  • Talk. Talk. Talk. Keep up the conversations. Keep up the connections.
  • You will fail along the way. This is ok. Get up, brush it off and try again. Persevere.
  • Trust your people. Kill bureaucracy.

The journey never ends, there’s always room for improvement and revising while learning as you go along. We look forward to hearing from other companies and their giving journey and thank GO for sharing their story with us.

For more workshops like this and to be part of a community that learns from each other to do more good become an Academy of Givers member today.