Roberta Matuson drills down on the concept of purpose in the workplace, and explains how purpose can be used to fuel employee engagement.
- The first job I ever had was bussing tables at the Ponderosa Steakhouse. Most nights, I'd roll my bus and cart around the restaurant with as much enthusiasm as a kid being dragged to the dentist. No one ever explained to me the importance of my job and how that was tied to the company's purpose. For me, it was just a job but had someone made it clear to me that dinner out was special family time for our customers, I might have had a little more pep in my step.
Everyone wants to find meaning in their work. I mean, yeah, a nice paycheck is great but at the end of the day, when you're working another late night, your mind begins to wander and it's at that point you realize you're not happy. You have no idea why you're doing the work you do, you're really not feeling self-fulfilled in your job and you start dreaming of a way out. Can you believe that nearly 60% of employees don't know their company values, the mission and purpose and yet they still spend the majority of their day at work.
No wonder why we're in the midst of an employee engagement crisis. If people don't know what their company stands for, there's a pretty good chance they don't know why the work they do is important. That's where you come in. As their manager, you need to know and buy into your company's purpose beyond making money. Your employees want to be part of something more. They want to contribute to a greater purpose and they want you to lead them to that understanding. Let me give you four tips on how to connect your employees to the company's purpose and you'll be on your way to better engaging your employees.
First, you need to be able to make sure your team knows what the company stands for. If you don't know, ask. If the person you ask doesn't know, keep going up the chain until you find an answer and then make sure you have regular conversations with your team about what your company stands for and why their work matters. Next, you need to believe in the company purpose. If you don't feel a genuine connection to this, your employees will sense that and they won't buy into it either.
The third tip is about helping people understand how their work, their individual effort contributes to that greater purpose and this is what I call bringing purpose to life. Here's a powerful example. A pharmaceutical company invited patients into their corporate office so the employees could meet the people they were helping. Every employee was able to see firsthand how their work was impacting the lives of others. Talk about purpose.
My fourth tip is about keeping purpose in the forefront. Connecting employees to the company's purpose is not a one time task but a long-term commitment to boost engagement and inspiration. You certainly don't need to talk purpose in every meeting but it's important to refresh and reactivate these connections regularly. A great way to do this is through storytelling. Keep your ears open for stories about delighted customers and remember to share these with your employees.
Purpose-driven leadership can help you and your employees reach the next level of employee engagement where they're inspired to do their best work. Remember, inspired employees are not only the most productive, they're also the best representatives for your company and your brand.
- What motivates and engages today's employees
- The three types of employees
- How managers can engage employees
- Building a magnetic culture
- Creating lifelong connections with employees