three questions about purpose which you must answer to engage employees
By liz sheffield in Engagement
Employee engagement occurs when an employee knows and feels that they are connected to a more significant purpose. It’s knowing that they are part of a community and that what they do matters. Simply put: purpose is the “why” that motivates and engages employees in a meaningful way.
If you’re able to help them understand and articulate the answers to three questions, you’re on the way to engaging your workforce.
- Why is the organization in existence?
In an article published by Harvard Business Review, author Graham Kelly highlights that purpose is about what the organization is doing for someone else. Therein is the motivational power of organizational purpose he says, “Because it connects with the heart as well as the head.”
For a hospital, that means saving lives. For a software company, that means providing systems that improve the user experience. For publishers, that means providing authors with a platform to express their creativity. For retailers, organizational purpose means offering products that benefit shoppers.
Regardless of the industry, to reap the rewards of the head and heart connection, the organization’s “why” must be genuine, transparent, and relevant for everyone from the most senior executive to the frontline employee.
- Why am I a member of this organization?
Purpose is not a “one and done” situation. Sharing your organization’s purpose with new employees during an onboarding session is a great start, but that’s only the beginning. After you help employees understand your purpose, and reinforce why they chose to become a member of your organization, it’s important to continue reminding them how their personal purpose connects to the organizational purpose.
Every day that employees come to work, the organizational culture should reinforce their personal sense of purpose with intentional leadership, effective communication and meaningful connections between daily work and strategic goals. If you want to engage people start by clearly communicating the message that you appreciate them and what they do.
- Why does my role make a difference?
If you want to engage and motivate employees, you must answer the question of why their role makes a difference. If your organization’s purpose is saving lives, everyone from the front desk to the loading dock to the operating room should understand why their role plays a critical part in achieving the organization’s purpose.
Employees connect to the organization’s purpose when leaders, managers, and colleagues help them understand that their daily contributions to the organization matter. By making a powerful connection, you’re able to engage and inspire employees to reach new levels.
When you create an environment in which the organization has a definitive purpose, in which employees understand their personal purpose, and in which it’s clear why every role matters, you’re poised to enjoy the rewards that come with a motivated and engaged workforce.