Times are changing: no matter what industry you’re in, firms no longer have an excuse not to bring purpose to your work and parity to your workplace. Why? Because parity promotes purpose – and both are driving profit and performance. That’s a bold statement, but the numbers back it up.
Let’s start with how purpose guides strategy and drives performance. Nearly three-quarters of the 1,470 business leaders from a wide range of industries around the world that EY spoke with in our 2017 research said that having a well-integrated purpose helps them navigate today’s disrupted environment.
Additionally, two-thirds of the business executives interviewed by EY were rethinking their organizations’ purpose, and more than half of those were moving toward a broader definition of purpose that includes employees, customers, shareholders and society as a whole.
Good for purpose. But, what about gender parity?
Levels of gender parity appear to be a critical factor on how well a purpose is embraced and leveraged by a company. Our research indicates that women find purpose more useful and motivating, so a higher proportion of women in the workplace translates to a total workforce more engaged by a purpose – and therefore better able to realize its ambition.
80% of women interviewed by EY said that purpose helps guide their organization through volatility, compared to just under 70% of men who were surveyed. When it comes to realizing the proven benefits of purposeful business – like better employee retention, stronger customer engagement and a more innovative workforce – that 10% gap could mean the difference between seizing and skipping the transformative opportunity that a purpose can provide.
That’s not the only way parity and purpose go hand-in-hand. EY research shows that more women than men believe purpose creates long term value for their organization. Similarly, the 2015 Workforce Purpose Index by Imperative found that women are more likely than men to be purpose-oriented workers.
Women recognize the value of purpose and the benefits it brings. So are they more likely to put purpose into action for their organization.