Knitting the team together can be an expensive affair (think team building events and summer trips). During those activities, as your people participate and achieve objectives together, colleagues within and cross team may feel a sense of personal connection – that “we are all in this together”. Once the events ended, that personal connection seems to fade off as well. Why is this so?
That’s because the message “Oh yea, we sure are in this together.” is not strong enough. There is nothing concrete to put them on the same page, to bind them together. Expenditures on team building could probably be better spent elsewhere if the proximity (of emotional connection) between team members only last as long as the events are. Thankfully, there is another way of improving team dynamics at not much cost. And that is, to communicate your company’s purpose.
All companies exist today for a reason of some form. However, THE REASON for existence, in some cases wasn’t communicated well internally – to everyone part of and within the organization. Sometimes, the purpose for existence just got lost.
We’ve mentioned in one of our articles that communicating your company’s purpose well is an important step to take for levelling up employee engagement. It’s not just about informing, it’s also about capturing the hearts of your people. You could display the purpose on the wall along the walkway. But without actual action to engrave them deeply into your employees, those statements are just display pieces that people walk past.
The purpose of your company is not similar to the Vision, Mission and Value statement. It is a constructed statement to articulate the impact that the company is bringing to the audience, whomever they are serving.
As Peter Drucker (author of The Practice of Management) put it,
If we want to know what a business is, we have to start with its purpose. And the purpose must lie outside the business itself. In fact, it must lie in society, since a business enterprise is an organ of society. There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.
Your customers determine the success of your business. As such, it is vital to think what is it that your customer really need such that they are using your product or service. How have your company helped them (the Impact)? That would be the foundation work for crafting the company’s purpose which serves to inspire your staff.
Why is a Purpose statement important?
people want to feel that they’re a part of something bigger than themselves
Having a purpose in place gives meaning to whatever they are doing for your company. It’s encouraging to them, knowing that their effort and contributions are making an impact somewhere, somehow.
Take for instance those IT savvy folks answering your questions on the open forums. They are seldom in it for money. They are doing it because they know it’s helping you, me, and many others on the technical issues plaguing us (positive impacts). They are part of something which they feel is meaningful to them.
Furthermore, on an organizational level, business that exhibits a strong sense of purpose are more confident in their growth potential as well as the ability to outperform competition. In the 2014 Deloitte Core Beliefs & Culture Survey, a strong sense of purpose was highlighted to be a major factor in positively impacting employees, customers and society.
On top of that, one of the benefits that tags along when the company’s purpose is communicated effectively is a boost in employee engagement level. Productivity improves and turnover starts to fall. This was exactly what happened when Medix Staffing Solutions re-discovered their purpose.
Based on humans tendency to explore and seek challenges, tagging a purpose to work that needs your effort will energize and motivate your employees as
Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. (Daniel Pink)
If you only had one chance to improve the dynamics of your organization, let it be the conscious effort to inform everyone about the company’s purpose. It’s a low cost or almost no cost attempt you could take to inject motivation into your team. Let them know what larger whole they are part of.
No purpose yet? Then rediscover it! The first step to take is to do an introspection. Ask questions that allow you to reflect on why your company exist (why are you doing what you are doing now), who are you trying to help (or who have you helped) and what impact are you generating. With that, create your company’s purpose and use it to connect your employees, your company and you.
Having said that, to convey the company’s purpose is a task that is seemingly simple but yet difficult to grasp. This is because it’s not about a one-time communication. Systems need to be established within the organization in order for the greater goal to be introduced, reinforced and acted upon.
In order to construct a lasting purpose statement that resonates with your employees, the following elements of effective communication cannot be overlooked:
We realized that corporate messages often get deleted and one of the reason is due to the missing element of “being real”. If you craft the message to be authentic, something that makes your employees feel that it’s really coming from your heart, you’re a step closer to creating awareness for your company’s purpose. Remove the corporate tone.
Inform and Reinforce
Think about integrating the purpose into regular communications related to their daily routines/operations. It helps employees see how their individual responsibilities are supporting their department goals and how their team achievements correlate to the company’s objectives and purpose. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are ideal for such a situation. It tells the management how the team and everyone else is working towards the achieving the greater purpose and the individuals fully see how their contribution is adding value. As employees align their work with the direction of the organization, they are constantly reinforced with the message.
Recognize and Reward
Don’t be stingy with praises. Applaud individuals and teams who did well in incorporating the company’s purpose into their daily work – whether it’s coming up with smart solutions, making positive changes or impacting/influencing their peers to perform.
If you don’t win over employees first, you certainly won’t succeed in winning with customers, as they ultimately hold that relationship in their hands.
Improving office dynamics has never been easy. But that doesn’t mean impossible. Apply strategies with a human touch. Something that goes in line with how humans are wired to behave – give meaning to the work your people are focusing on and show them, how are they contributing to a larger whole that brings positive impacts to others.
For InviPulse, our purpose statement is,
To help companies stretch further with existing human resources and achieve outstanding business results.
PS: Have some burning questions to ask? Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I answer every email.