Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Black Friday – the day that strikes any retailer with delight and trepidation.  Accountants wait anxiously for the [hopefully positive] numbers to roll in.  Sleep deprived retail employees wake…scratch that…they frequently don’t even get to sleep… at the crack they greet the hoards of angry shoppers who have stood in line all night long to pillage through sales racks once morning comes for $4 pajamas and $7 crock pots that their grandmothers can clearly not live another day without.

Last week REI did something brassy; they sent an email to their employees, and to all of their members informing them that they will be closed on Black Friday.  Why?  Because they want to live up to their purpose.   REI’s mission is to: inspire, educate, and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. 

To do this, REI is putting money where their mouth is and is staying closed on Black Friday. They are paying employees to stay home and practice what they preach by participating in their#OptOutside movement.  REI, like many other progressive organizations sees the value in not only understanding, but actually living out purpose. 

Just yesterday Imperative, an organization we at FutureSense love, released a new report about what they call their Purpose Index.  Using proprietary assessment, they were able to identify that approximately 28% of the U.S. workforce has a “purpose orientation”.   Imperative defines purpose orientation as a “psychological predisposition to the role of work in life.  It is a stable mindset throughout one’s career that transcends a specific job or employer.”  Purpose-oriented workers see work as primarily about purpose (instead of primarily about status or income).  

Why does purpose orientation matter?  Because the recent study by Imperative finds that employers get more “bang for their buck” when it comes to hiring purpose-oriented workers.

Over the next few months we will be exploring purpose in the workplace – the value of it, how to measure it, how to use it to transform people practices.   We are excited to not only continue this conversation, but also elevate it!

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