We all want our employees to be dedicated to our company, to be intrinsically motivated and to enjoy high morale at the office. And while there are many activities and tips offered by experts to help make that happen, there is one element that is fundamental in building such a foundation among our workforce: giving employees meaningful purpose for their work.
Taking a page from Simon Sinek’s Start with Why philosophy, when we can answer for our team, the why behind the work they are doing – connecting it to a higher purpose that goes beyond themselves, and beyond growing sales, that’s when we can start to build a passionate and purposeful community.
We came across this great quote that inspired us on this topic:
“Loving is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939
In fact, when employees feel like they are among colleagues who share similar values and beliefs, when they feel like they are all working towards one common, higher goal, that is when a strong, healthy workforce culture begins to grow. It happens when employees are all looking in the same direction.
When we understand why – with our common values and beliefs, we build trust, and in the presence of trust, we feel more confident to take risks, to fail and learn from those experiences, and to go out and explore more. In essence, we grow business.
So, how can we get our employees to LOVE the organization they work for? How can we cultivate those ties that bind? Here are three things we can all start to do today, to start creating a tight-knit culture at the office to motivate and impassion employees:
- Help employees experience your company’s vision: according to Sinek, the number one organizational challenge employers are experiencing today as business grows is this: the vision that a company’s founders initially put into words, gets fuzzy in everyday work. Do your employees have your company’s vision top of mind every day that they go to work? Do they embrace it and practice it? Research suggests that while people only remember 10% of what they read, they remember 90% of what they do. So the best way to cultivate love for a company’s purpose is to create experiences in every day work that reinforces a unique philosophy and culture. UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School shares 12 keys to building collaborative organizational cultures. Consider auditing these 12 tenets within your organization to see how these are “living” within your workplace.
- Does management walk the talk? All too often, as companies grow and different leadership styles spread across the organization, sub-cultures start to grow among silos. To counter this, it is critical to embrace transparency and collaboration. This is where recruiting the right leaders become critical to an organization. Servant leadership has become a buzz word of late, but it holds tremendous power in bringing a workforce together towards a common goal. This case study on Starbucks provides a macro view of how leadership from the top can transform a company’s success through its workforce.
- Cultivate social impact in business: corporate social responsibility has transformed into social impact in business today. People expect companies to not only do good, but create a vision and culture worth admiring that incorporates at least some parts of a triple bottom line philosophy – people, planet and profits. Consider surveying your leadership and employees to see how they feel the organization is performing from a social impact perspective. What do they feel the company is doing well, and where can things be improved? Such initiatives can help build a collaborative road map to move the organization and its culture forward positively.
Have you seen any companies stand out when it comes to fostering a love for purpose within an organization? Please share your stories with us on social media. We’d love to hear from you!