You’ve probably heard the rumours: purpose matters more than ever before. Gen Zers won’t get out of bed and certainly won’t join an organisation until they see, hear and feel it.
But what does that mean for the financial industry, one that might not traditionally have been thought of as the most purpose-led? Is there a ‘north star’ they can point towards to energise and excite their people?
Well, aside from the quite arguable benefit the jobs and taxable revenue that the financial industry creates and has always created, now perhaps more than ever there is the opportunity to point to an entirely new kind of purpose.
Finance – a catalyst for change?
As Will Hutton of the Purposeful Company points out, the sector could be a catalyst for change. With the money the financial industry creates and the state of the UK’s infrastructure and energy market, there’s no end to the good it can do. “What is emerging is a growing view among the best of our businesses that strategy and values should be driven by a commitment to a social purpose.”1
A joint commitment by the CEOs of Aviva and Natwest to “champion potential and help people, families and business to thrive” through a £50bn private sector wealth fund, is evidence of the sort of purpose the finance sector can work towards.
Indeed, Alison Rose of Natwest, sees the drive to net zero as one of her core business objectives. Likewise, the Green Finance Institute has long pointed out that environmental transformation won’t be possible without the finance sector. Only “cross-sector collaboration and the focused application of the creativity, innovation and skills of the financial services industry to finance the global transition will.”2
What would that mean for existing and potential employees? Well, probably quite a lot. The opportunity to work within the organisation that is not only paying handsome wages and providing competitive benefits but also committing and contributing to social good would no doubt be irresistible to many.
Providing any accusations of ‘purpose-washing’ can be offset, there’s a whole new ready-made mission for the finance industry – one that would no doubt give even greater meaning to the lives of many. It’s then just a question of getting it out there, making sure people are aware and committed to it, and then making it part of day-to-day life. There are experts on hand to help do exactly that.
- Will Hutton for the Observer, 26 February 2023
- Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, Chief Executive, Green Finance Institute – website