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Employee Engagement with Your Organizational Purpose

How Would You Rate Your Employee Engagement With The Overall Company Purpose?

Employee engagement with the overall culture of your company is critical to success.

Allow me to ask some fundamental questions. How well do you know your organization’s stated purpose?  Is your purpose clear? Can your employees state that purpose in their own words? And finally, are your employees committed to your organizational purpose in their actions?

I realize these seem like pretty hard-hitting questions, but they are important to ask and know.

Organizational Cultures and Values

We discuss company values and cultures in some of my workshops. We talk about why they are so important to both the day-to-day and long-term experience of all workers. After all, we tend to be drawn to organizations whose values and purpose mirror our own.

But while most leaders can articulate that purpose, many employees cannot.

I call this employee engagement, or disengagment, in your company or organizational purpose.

Workplace Culture Begins with Purpose

Your workplace culture begins with your organization’s purpose. That is exactly why you’re in business in the first place. It is the values, belief systems, attitudes, and set of assumptions that people in a workplace share.

A purpose defines your company’s operating system and a reflection of what your organization stands for.

Your employees make decisions about and for the company based on what they believe your purpose to be.  What they believe to be your purpose governs what they do.  Especially when you are not in the room! The understood purpose is the voice of your business. And, your employees are key to ensuring that purpose succeeds.

Do Your Supervisors and Managers Know the Purpose of Your Company?

When you provide a work environment that your staff enjoys spending time in, their performance tends to improve. But we can’t forget that culture lives or dies each day through the activities of the frontline managers.  If those managers don’t know and show the organization’s values by their behaviors and actions, who else will?  How can the employee engagement with the purpose be evidenced if it is not modeled consistently?

One of our class participants, who was the boss, had several employees with him in class. He turned and asked his employees if they knew the current and stated values of the company. We waited for a response.  Will someone to raise their hand and recite the value statement? But no one did.

(What many of them did do was reach for their devices and look up their company’s website…)

How can Employees Engagement Increase if They Don’t Know What to Engage With?

If employees don’t know their company’s values, how do they know if they align with their own?

Studies reveal that only one in three employees agree that: “The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel that my job is important.” If that’s true within your organization, there’s a problem.

Remember, culture begins with purpose.

It’s important that your employees don’t just fit your culture, but that they further it.

A world-class culture inspires your most talented employees to create superior customer (internal and external) experiences. When an organization makes a brand promise through stated values and fails to deliver on that promise, your credibility is lost.

Netflix often receives citations as an example of an organization with world-class culture.

The organization has 10 Stated Values: Judgment, Communication, Curiosity, Courage, Passion, Selflessness, Innovation, Inclusion, Integrity, and Impact. As their website states, it’s easy to write admirable values. Living them is much harder.

( An example: Enron stated their values as Integrity, Communication, Respect, and Excellence…)

What makes Netflix unusual, is that they have been very specific about the behaviors that they expect. They built those expectations around their values.  In order to remove the ambiguity of any one value’s meaning, they provide specific behaviors. This governs what the organization is looking for in their employees.

Netflix Values and Employee Engagement Expectations

I have included two examples from Netflix.  Use this as a starting point. Think about your own organization’s values.  How would that value be seen in your employee’s behavior?

INCLUSION

  • Collaborating effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures
  • Nurturing and embracing different perspectives to make better decisions
  • Curiosity about how our different backgrounds affect us at work, rather than pretending they don’t affect us
  • Recognizing we all have biases and work to grow past them
  • Intervening if someone else is being marginalized

COMMUNICATION

  • Concise and articulate in speech and writing
  • Listening well and seek to understand before reacting
  • Maintaining calm poise in stressful situations to draw out the clearest thinking
  • Adapting your communication style to work well with people from around the world who may not share your native language
  • Providing candid, helpful, timely feedback to colleagues

A great culture is one of the few things that an organization cannot buy.

Create Employee Engagement By Coaching for Success

Great company culture is something managers at all levels can make or break.  The traditional performance management systems struggle to inspire and develop employees. This often results in lost productivity.  Some critical elements are lost in the workplace experience.

Today’s employees want a coach, not a boss. Employees want a teacher, a mentor, a consultant, a counselor, and an evaluator. They want someone to recognize their strengths as a human.

Moving your managers from Boss to Coach (and everything else I listed) increases your employee’s engagement experience. It will also increase their performance and help to build and grow your organization’s culture.

Start by having a conversation about what your organization’s values mean with regards to expected employee behavior.

Remember, those behaviors will define your organization’s culture. Or, we could say,  your company’s operating system. They will guide how your employees make decisions.  Positive attitudes and behavior in the workplace are the direct results of effective leadership.  How people are managed has a significant impact.

It can’t be bought but get that right and it becomes priceless.

2019-07-09T15:42:09-07:00

About the Author:

Phil Eastwood is a former London Bobby who brings a thirty-five year career in policing to his role as Senior Partner of Fiore Group Training, a recognized leader in training top North American organizations. Phil is lead author of workplace training courses in respectful workplace training, workplace violence employee training, and leadership training seminars.