What does it mean to be a purpose-driven company? At Breathe Life we often talk about being purpose-driven, but sometimes it can be difficult to understand what that really means.
According to Forbes, Purpose-driven companies attract the best minds, have the most passionate customers, achieve wild success and change the world. A purpose-driven company stands for and takes action on something bigger than its products and services (salesforce). We interviewed Ian Jeffrey our CEO and Jean-Nicholas Hould our COO as well as our team members to gain insight into the meaning behind our purpose and why we are a purpose-driven company.
At Breathe Life, purpose driven means that we all have a clear goal that’s well known and understood by the whole team. “You need to be able to ask any employee what the purpose is and receive similar answers”, says Janic, our Director of Engineering. It means sometimes having to make tough decisions in order to make sure you’re following the path that brings you closer to that purpose. For Ian, it’s all about being aligned on why we do things and how we can look deeper at the greater impact.
Our purpose is to increase the global adoption of life insurance so everyone on the planet can benefit from having the financial security they deserve. This purpose is the north star that guides us as a team however, it touches each of us differently on a daily basis. It is really important to our team that our purpose shines through in all of our actions and tasks, as actions speak louder than words. Jean-Nicholas (COO) believes that “it is really about doing something for a bigger purpose. No matter what you do in life, it’s serving a purpose, and even through the small things we are able to serve a larger purpose and build these small actions towards that bigger mission”
For Jean Nicholas this purpose is especially important, as his family benefitted from life insurance after the passing of his father when he was only a child. “I’ve seen the benefits of having that protection in my life and having Financial Security. I think for me it’s really important at the end of the day that the foundation of what we’re trying to achieve is to bring Financial Security to people.” Our mission is something that affects real people in very large ways, so it is important to keep it front of mind and really understand why it is important. “I wanted to build something that has an impact on people’s lives. Breathe Life is a software company, and software is software right, but our software offer actually has a greater purpose than just being software and it enables us to protect people’s families during very emotional and difficult times through life insurance.” comments Ian.
At the beginning of our bi-weekly All-Hands, Ian always goes through our purpose with the team. “It’s not something that is always that obvious and that’s why I try to repeat it over and over whenever I have an audience and talk about it because I know you really do feel like you’re doing something for a real reason right?” This helps remind the team and reflect on the bigger meaning behind our work. We also have a channel on Slack called the “impact channel” which allows the team to see in real-time how many life policies are facilitated by our technology. Every policy sold is one more family protected and I think it’s important to remind everyone. It’s about helping and protecting more people”.
“Being part of a purpose-driven company, especially in technology, matters more today than ever before. With purpose, a company can create positive value that is far greater than the sum of its parts.” -Forbes
A lot of our team believes that keeping our purpose top-of-mind not only helps to guide us, but is also a really great motivator for them personally. We also find that it’s something that really resonates with our potential candidates in Interviews, and is one of the reasons they want to join our team. Jean Nicholas explains “Most people in the industry don’t imagine themselves working in insurance, it’s not what people are attracted to but whenever we start talking with potential candidates and they get a good grasp of what problem we’re trying to solve, what purpose we’re chasing, that’s what gets people excited. That’s how we were able to grow a team of 50 people and engage top talent in such a short period of time and I think that the way our purpose is braided into our work is a key factor.”
A recent Harvard Business Review study found that employees who derive meaning and purpose from their work report almost twice the job satisfaction and are three times more likely to stay with their company.
Going forward, that purpose is pushing innovation at Breathe Life. “We were always chasing the way to achieve the biggest impact on our purpose, I think really that’s the driving force and I think if we were able to bring that purpose in every small or big decision that we make” (Jean Nicholas). Ian believes that we’re making small steps every day towards that goal but in order to really make a difference we have to push the boundaries. “We are not inventing a faster or better horse, we’re inventing the car” he explains, referencing the legacy of Henry Ford in transforming the transportation industry. “Right now we’re in a phase of delivering to the industry what it is that they expect and need, and modernizing the existing system. In the future, we need to transform the system to make sure that we’re not keeping things the same, that we are actually doing the things that are needed so everyone on the planet can easily protect their families. ”
“Life insurance is one way of ensuring security and prosperity for your loved ones. Any family or community that can’t access life insurance lacks a valuable tool to increase their wealth and quality of life, and to help them recover and move on after a loss. At our best, we don’t just serve the market, but challenge the market to make life insurance available to marginalized people, to help build financial equity in North America and around the world.” -Dora Rogers, Scrum Master at Breathe Life