How Purpose and Profits Can Serve Stakeholders

By Terkel

Coworkers at table working with purpose

Can purpose and profits of a company work together to better serve more stakeholders?

To help you understand how purpose and profits can work together, we asked conscious business leaders this question for their best insights. From when you deal with customers and employees to when you include all who gather the profits, there are several ways that purpose and profits can best work together to serve stakeholders.

1. When Dealing With Customers and Employees

Purpose and profits can absolutely work together to better serve more stakeholders. Customers do business with companies that they know, like and trust. Likewise, employees stay at companies where they feel valued and supported. As a result, sacrificing employee pay and benefits, or removing little touches that make customers feel valued, will hurt profits over the long run.

On the contrary, companies can prioritize their higher purpose when dealing with customers and employees. If they do this, it will lead to higher profits over time, allowing them to serve every stakeholder in a truly human and better way.

— Axel DeAngelis, NameBounce

2. By Giving Back

People want to work for a business that cares about more than just profits. They want to work for a company that makes the world a better place. mentioned that charity and giving back leads to a boost in employee morale and a better rating for the company culture. By donating, you are letting the world know you are not just about making as much profit as you can. Giving back puts an emotional angle on your company and helps those in need — it's a win-win.

— Trevor Rappleye, &

3. When Clients Also Believe in the Same Purpose

There is a stereotype outside of the business community that profits and purpose contradict each other. Contrary to that, many businesses build their competitive advantage through choices consistent with their ethics. Even if it costs them more, it is usually a part of a long-term strategy to create the following and serve previously underserved customers. This approach also becomes increasingly important as ethical consumerism is growing in popularity.

— Michael Sena, SENACEA

4. When Purpose Leads, Profit Follows

A clearly defined purpose is essential for all businesses and when your company’s purpose is at the forefront, it organically creates alignment, which in turn increases profits. A clear and visible purpose helps attract the right employees to your business, it also attracts the right customers who want to spend their money with you.

A clear purpose is also the backbone for everything within the organization, from policy, process, customers and culture. Without operationalizing your purpose throughout every aspect of the company, there can be confusion because folks focus on the "what" and not the "why" and we all know the "what" can change, but the "why" remains a constant.

— Barbie Winterbottom, the Business of HR

5. When Focusing on a Long-term, Sustaining Mission

The purpose and profits of a company can work together to serve more stakeholders. The purpose of the company, or reason for truly existing, is the "north star" of which a company aligns its strategy and subsequent product or service offerings. This focus generates profits which in turn allows the company to better serve its ultimate purpose.

Companies must benefit the community through their purpose in order to thrive. The more people the company benefits through the purpose, the more stakeholders it can in turn better serve; whether the local population of the city where the company is located (employment or tax revenue), product or service offering (makes life easier or saves someone time) or stock offering (investment opportunities).

— Tyler Vallely, OUTREC

6. Through Accomplishments

You know that feeling you get at the end of a long day where you worked hard, accomplished a lot, and you actually feel more energized than when you started the day? When you're following your purpose, when you're swimming in your lane, that's how you defy physics, and the more energy you put into your work, the more charged up you feel. Do that purposeful work long enough, and the profits (of both money and happiness) will follow.

— Patrick Sullivan Jr., Jigsaw Health

7. Through Defining Your Company Objectives

Serving stakeholders is defined by the objectives of the company. Building purpose into the objectives from the get-go means that company goals and KPIs are clearly defined and celebrated. Purpose and profit can be pursued simultaneously. They're also not necessarily convergent things. With a little creativity, purpose and profit can be achieved from the one activity.

— Annelise Worn, Annelise Worn

8. When All Who Gather Profits Are Included

I once felt confused at the local Kroger grocery store when my manager told us we weren't allowed to take home tips working at the Starbucks. Customers would happily give us extra change or a few bucks because they enjoyed a more personal experience while they prepared themselves for the day ahead. Kroger's policy was to use the tips to donate to an initiative or nonprofit, but not of the employee's choice. I was confused because I felt robbed. Giving customers an excellent customer experience, being rewarded for that experience, and then being told I was not allowed to keep those tips.

I believe profits and purpose can work together to better serve stakeholders if all who are gathering profits for that purpose are included. At the time I was in school full time, working full time, and also living on my own. I only made $7.45 hourly in 2014. I needed the extra bit of money. I would have happily donated if it was a group effort among employees, managers and other stakeholders.

— Susan Payne, Account Executive and PR Specialist

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Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.