NovoEd Exclusive – Episode 1 Debrief
Hear Chris, Stacia, and Dani reflect on the first conversation and the premise behind their collaboration on the ‘Is Purpose Working?’ podcast series.
Last year, the U.S. Business Roundtable declared that the point of a company was no longer to maximize shareholder value, but instead to promote an economy that “serves all Americans.” With that announcement, a new word started to become more prominent in business conversation: ‘purpose.’ The health, economic, and social crises of 2020 then brought the idea about why we work really under the spotlight for employees, L&D professionals, and the C-Suite.
That’s not to say that purpose, as an idea, dropped out of the sky when the Roundtable folks made their announcement; anyone familiar with the Taproot Foundation’s work or the early days of JC Penney knows that the idea that we don’t just work for an organization in exchange for a paycheck runs deep. But what is new is that purpose is no longer simply part of a corporate vision statement or something that sits in the purview of the Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) department. It’s moving out of its traditional silos—and at a rapid rate—with more and more organizational teams taking it very seriously.
Questions remain. Is HR the owner of this important work, or not? How exactly does L&D contribute? Are there useful quantifiable metrics yet, or tools to measure it? RedThread Research is working to figure out how much purpose activity in today’s corporations is real, or simply lip-service to the ideal (what they call ‘purpose-washing’). So far, it has released an initial report and, more recently, a useful infographic of its preliminary findings. And, though its investigations are far from over, some key themes are already emerging:
- 89% of leaders think it drives employee satisfaction;
- 84% of managers see having a clear purpose positively impacting the organization’s ability to transform;
- And, that we could—and maybe should—be using corporate learning to align employees to organizational purpose.
The study has also clearly identified that purpose is “HR’s opportunity” during the current crisis and beyond. As leader of the RedThread purpose work, Stacia Sherman Garr, puts it in the first episode of this podcast series: “We did this research in the context of the pandemic and have seen HR and purpose show up a lot more together.”
But is HR listening? And is it going to use training to seize this opportunity? The connection of corporate learning to the issues of deep employee engagement that purpose has to be about is intriguing.
To advance the conversation, RedThread is embarking on a unique, multi-month podcast collaboration with former Microsoft CLO, Chris Pirie, host of the hugely popular Learning Is The New Working podcast. It promises to be a fascinating, timely, and also genuinely important series of conversations. What the series will look like in practice: a series of interviews, discussions, and thought leadership experiences around the emerging themes of purpose in connection with the evolution of business in the 2020s and beyond. It’s an important conversation, and one that NovoEd is proud to sponsor.
So, join us over the next few months to hear from Stacia and Dani at RedThread as well as Chris as they explore purpose from different angles—interviewing authors and thinkers in the field, CLOs and CHROs applying it in practice, and other informative subject experts.
You can tune in to the conversation from any of your favorite podcast apps or subscribe to our newsletter, where we will summarize the key takeaways for learning leaders, and give you access to exclusive content, transcripts, related links, and more.
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