Video: How corporate purpose can help raise HR's game

HR leader Dean Carter talks about the importance of corporate purpose

Video: How corporate purpose can help raise HR's game

Dean Carter, Chief People and Purpose Officer at Guild Education and former Patagonia CHRO, sat down with HRDTV to talk about the future of HR and the growing need for clear corporate culture in a more socially-aware corporate landscape.

The global pandemic was a moment of reckoning for his own organization, Carter explained; like Guild, many companies found themselves thinking about the purpose of their work in different ways, and after George Floyd’s murder, that effect was compounded.

“I don’t know that we necessarily ‘drove purpose’ for a very long time. There are a lot of things that we were driving, but it wasn’t necessarily purpose,” Carter said. “I think at the end of the day, people thought, ‘If I’m going to work for a company, and I’m going to spend my life in it, I might as well do that with purpose.’”

Creation of ‘purpose officer’ role integral in Guild’s growth

A lot of companies don’t know why they exist, Carter said, and HR plays a crucial role in establishing a fundamental connection point between employees and corporate purpose:

“As the head of people, and the thing we’re most responsible for, if we’re connecting to people and connecting purpose, every single thing we do in terms of the HR team starts to set a culture.”

Guild Education created Carter’s role specifically to center the company’s purpose as a core value and operation point. One of their main missions, which should be key to all organizations, he said, is skilling employees for the future.

“The challenge we have as HR professionals is to go, ‘okay, what is the skilling and the re-skilling we need to do for our talent today so that those jobs are sustainable for tomorrow?” said Carter, speaking to HRDTV.

Corporate purpose drives retention and recruitment

Referencing recent statistics, Carter explained that a top priority for millennials and Gen Z, who are taking up larger swaths of the global workforce, largely list ‘purpose’ as a main reason for considering an organization for employment.

A corporation can send a clear message to potential talent by registering as a “B corporation”, Carter said, thereby “codifying” its commitment to purpose.

“They’re much more likely to stay, they’re much more likely to be engaged in their work. They’re much more likely to find another coworker who shares that same purpose, and when you have a friend at work that you share the same purpose with, you’re a lot more likely to stay.”

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