5 Ways to Demonstrate Purpose to your Employees Remotely

Updated: Apr 27

A practical look into how leaders can foster and grow a purpose-led culture in a remote context.

1. Acknowledge employee concerns and show you care

The last year has brought lots of challenges to people’s lives, professionally and personally. It is critical to listen and to acknowledge these concerns and challenges. Where possible, it is important to take action to create solutions to demonstrate a willingness to remove barriers in work to the challenges people face. Listen to your employees and take action in areas where solutions can be found within the workplace. Research has shown that only 25% of leaders have well-developed empathy skills.

2. Create remote opportunities for employees to connect with your culture

It can be challenging to sustain a company’s culture when employees are working remotely. However, it is incumbent on leaders to create opportunities for employees to connect with the larger organisation, for without doing so can leave employees feeling disengaged from the overall company culture. To minimise feelings of disconnection, arrange a virtual activity which embodies values which are important to a company’s culture - just don’t forget to make it fun as well!

3. Start to reimagine your culture now

The last year has dramatically changed the calculus for organisations and their cultures. Think about what changes are important to maintain within your organisations - and which ones you want to get rid of when you go back to the office. Base any ideas on data and insights from your teams and discuss any proposed initiatives with a broad range of employees. If you are looking to spend half the week working from home, and the other half of the week in the office, create the structures and necessary arrangements for this before you physically return to the office.


Research shows that only 25% of leaders have high empathy skills (Source: Boston Consulting Group, 'Leadership in the New Now')


80% of employers believe that they are supporting the physical and emotional health of their workforces, compared with 46% of employees. (Source: IBM, 'Covid-19 and the Future of Business')


Communicating empathically increases job satisfaction, reduces burnout, and is highly correlated with enhanced well-being. (Source: Harvard Medical School)

4. Demonstrate commitment to other stakeholders

When living your purpose, it is important to also consider how you can do this through other stakeholders, not just employees. Engage with other stakeholders and scope for opportunities to connect with them in new, meaningful, and value-creating ways. By demonstrating commitment to your organisation’s stakeholders, employees will be able to see the lived purpose being operationalised, which may have a positive knock-on effect of strengthening their commitment to the organisation.

5. Make culture visible by calling it out

An organisation’s culture often manifests itself in the seemingly mundane, day-to-day happenings - like colleagues interacting or making decisions - which over time become embedded as cultural habits or practices. As everyday tasks nowadays occur remotely and practices are sometimes hard to observe, it is even more important for leaders to draw attention to and acknowledge which aspects of culture are on display and why that matters. Employees should also be able to contribute to this conversation to name cultural norms when they see them in operation and ones which align to the organisation’s values. By calling them out, they are more likely to resonate with other employees and permeate throughout the organisation.

“When is crowded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose anything is possible.” Howard Schultz, former CEO and Chairman of Starbucks

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