As the wheels of our plane touched down in Melbourne, I couldn’t help but reflect on the upcoming Steople global strategic planning meetings. Offsites like these can be a substantial investment in terms of time and resources, but if done right, they prove to be invaluable. Traditionally, our agendas have been laden with numbers, business development discussions, and some fun, informal time. This year, however, we decided to take a different approach – one that combines the professional with the personal.

Of course, we held onto the fun, enjoying tours of fantastic wineries, competing fiercely in scavenger hunts, hiking through picturesque landscapes, and savoring Melbourne’s finest coffee. But this time, we wanted more than just numbers; we wanted to focus on the heartbeat of Steople – our staff experience as a team member.

In planning for the offsite, as a leadership team, we posed a fundamental question to ourselves: “What does this team need most right now?” It had been somewhat of a rollercoaster over the past 12 months, and we knew we needed to do something a little different – connecting the heart with the work.  This led us to two of the most impactful sessions we’ve ever had – crafting individual Core Purpose statements and revitalizing our Employee Value Proposition.
Why did we embark on this journey?  We firmly believe that aligning an individual’s core purpose with their role in a company is a potent strategy that fuels results and elevates our work with clients. When employees are driven by a sense of purpose that resonates with the company’s mission, their engagement, commitment, and enthusiasm soar.

Clarifying Core Purpose Statements
For me personally, I’ve always kept my Core Purpose at the forefront of everything I do. My life is a seamless blend of work and home life.  So my Core Purpose is:

Now, to some, that might sound too holistic, and indeed, many others in our group had more business-focused Core Purposes. But that’s the beauty of a Core Purpose – it’s uniquely yours, and it only needs to resonate with you. As we guided our team through this process, we emphasized a few key principles:

1. Engage in Open Dialogue: We encouraged open and honest conversations with our employees to understand their personal values, passions, and aspirations. This required active listening and empathy to uncover what truly motivates them.

2. Identify Common Ground: We looked for intersections between our team members’ values/purpose and the company’s values, purpose, and vision. We plan to continue seeking areas where their passions and skills align seamlessly with the company’s goals.

3. Provide Autonomy and Ownership: We encourage our employees the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of projects that resonated with their passions and purpose. This autonomy fosters a sense of responsibility and commitment.

4. Foster a Supportive Culture: Every week, we make it our mission to cultivate a workplace culture that values purpose alignment and encourages individuals to pursue their passions. This includes fostering an atmosphere of trust, open communication, and mutual support.

5. Encourage Reflection: We will encourage our employees to periodically reflect on their work and its alignment with their Core Purpose. This self-awareness has the potential to lead to adjustments and improvements over time.

Employee Value Proposition Alignment
An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is pivotal to nurturing a strong culture. It serves as the promise to everyone within the company and distinguishes your organization from others. But what about our EVP? We realized that while our Client Value Proposition was in great shape, our Employee Value Proposition wasn’t leaving a lasting impression or resonating with our staff. It wasn’t necessarily “wrong,” but we understood that it must be deeply embedded in our culture.

We rolled up our sleeves and got to work on it. It’s still a work in progress, but we know that elements like Autonomy, Variety, Impact, and Support will be featured prominently. We plan to wordsmith it and then pressure-test it across the company.

In the end, our meetings were a resounding success, and we’re committed to weaving these principles into the very fabric of our culture. This journey is a testament to the power of aligning personal purpose with organizational goals and how much we value our staff – a fusion that holds the potential to drive not only individual growth but also the collective success of our company.