Even employees at the most purposeful companies can struggle to tell their story to others in consistent and compelling ways. “Singing from the same hymn book” is essential expressing a brand’s story consistently and to keeping purpose top of mind. Ultimately, a unified front will invite more aligned stakeholders into your community to grow your business and impact.
Various internal tools can be developed and rolled out to achieve just that. Here are the top tools we find useful when working with companies to communicate purpose to their employees:
Handbooks and Advocacy Toolkits
Toolkits — physical and digital — provide an evergreen resource for new and existing employees to return to again and again. These tools explain how to talk about purpose with easy to follow guidelines and guardrails (do’s and don’ts), outline how to share the purpose with others and provide ways to activate purpose on a day-to-day in employees’ specific roles.
The Starbucks Green Apron Book and the Zappos Culture Book are two great examples of these essential resources.
Manifesto Film and Video Content
Video can be one of the most accessible and effective ways to communicate purpose to your employees on an emotional level. A one to three minute manifesto film can act as a global rallying cry and celebration of your entire community’s shared purpose. Impossible Foods’ film around its mission of saving the earth through plant-based food is a compelling example.
Animated videos are particularly effective at detailing roadmaps for how your brand will put its purpose into action. Shorter videos shared overtime can detail specific employee or customer stories on how purpose is coming to life. For example, Airbnb details community stories that express its “Belong Anywhere” theme.
In-person or live leadership webcast events can help demonstrate that purpose is an active and important initiative across the entire organization. Aside from integrating purpose updates into weekly staff meetings or quarterly reviews, town halls and workshops across different departments and regions can effectively socialize the purpose. These trainings will also equip leaders and/or purpose ambassadors to share your company purpose with a broader group of employees.
High-touch, interactive immersions encourage employees to become intimately familiar with purpose and can spark ideas about how they can bring it to life. For example, associates of VF Corporation were presented with large murals depicting the global challenges its brands were most poised to address while meeting “movement makers” who are making a powerful difference when the leadership team revealed their purpose.
Further, purpose-led annual rituals or traditions that everyone can look forward to inspire employees to rally behind the purpose. For example, SAP holds innovation awards that spotlights customers and partners using their products in the most impactful ways.
Online courseware is another interactive way employees can learn about and advance purpose. Many companies leverage existing training platforms as well as other purpose content to make this an accessible and relatively low-lift initiative. E-learning also has the added benefit of metrics that will allow you to see how well employees are understanding the purpose and the effectiveness of your overall communication efforts.
Level set your company’s purpose training and build buy-in by introducing the personal benefits and business case for purpose in the first place. For start-ups, smaller companies, and solopreneurs, We First Works is an accessible alternative to proprietary training that will help you to define and activate purpose within your company.