Purpose, key to achieve happiness at work - Part II: The Employees
Companies that have incorporated the Purpose to their daily life, notice a general evolution of the business as this becomes essential for motivation and retention of Talent, and at the same time define its raison d'etre and help debugging all the activities that are out of the line of action.
In short, it helps to strengthen the company
This is the second part of a series of 3 entries to share the concepts I presented during the 5th International Congress of Happiness at Work held in Bogotá on November 28, 2019.
On this occasion I will talk about the importance of the Purpose for the company and what we should do to help employees to adhere to the Purpose of the company.
The importance of the Purpose can be appreciated when it becomes part of the collective consciousness of the company, promoting a change in its culture and motivating the organization to begin to perform at a higher level.
Likewise, having the Purpose incorporated makes the processes simpler and easier to execute and sustain. People start looking for permanent solutions instead of provisional measures, they really get involved, because the sense of belonging is higher.
Having defined its Purpose provides several advantages for the company:
• Makes decision making easier:
Having a purpose, one may ask: "Is this action that I am about to perform aligned with the purpose or not?" If so, we move on. Otherwise, we should consider removing it from the list of things to do.
• Help align the Organization:
The purpose ensures that everyone in an organization, no matter how large or complex, is on the same page.
• The Commitment is more real and profound:
The more employees believe in the purpose of the organization, the more passionate and committed they will be in their work.
• It is an Innovation Driver:
When the hearts and minds of employees are committed to a Purpose, there is no way to stop their natural desire to find increasingly meaningful and innovative ways to fulfill it.
• It gives meaning to your Brand:
Organizations with a defined Purpose use internal fire to tell who they really are and what they represent, eliminating any disconnection between how the company is promoted and what the client feels.
• Belonging and Happiness:
Companies with a deeper Purpose attract better people to their environment, those that identify with us.
Likewise, companies that have a Purpose manage to retain their workers more effectively.
The purpose is the foundation that reminds people why they do what they do and that it matters.
• An enriched organizational Culture:
Purpose-driven organizations tend to have organizational cultures based on values, principles and the commitment to share the Purpose. They often become companies considered as excellent places to work.
All companies should have a Purpose, this is not only for large or multinational companies, but also for small, local businesses. This regardless of whether they are service providers or producers of goods.
Ideally when creating the company, we should think about the Purpose of it. That would be the ideal way to start the work of any organization, knowing its essence, its Why.
I imagine the amount of mistakes, worries, loss of time and opportunities that companies would avoid if they have established their Purpose from the beginning, and were guided by it.
It turns out that something that sounds obvious is not in reality as a large majority of companies and organizations do not define their Purpose at the time of starting work or conceiving their lines of action and should do so later, when they have already walked part of the way.
According to a study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers with more than 500 of its clients in the United States, 79% of business leaders believe that having a Purpose is fundamental to the future of their companies, but only 34% have established their Purpose and govern their decisions consistently with it.
So, from my point of view, companies must recognize the importance of having a Purpose, and start building it immediately, transmit it at all levels and act in a consistent manner with it.
Ideally, the Purpose should be built with the participation of all levels of the company because that makes it more solid, broader and much easier to incorporate into the DNA of the organization because it has been built with the contributions of workers, not only management levels
However, some companies continue to make decisions and establish essential parameters from top to bottom, so the effort to transmit the message to the bases needs more time and dedication.
Unfortunately, when defining the Purpose, many companies follow this dynamic, with which the process of appropriation of the Purpose must have a defined and constant strategy.
Some of the ideas and actions that we must keep in mind to help the Purpose be adhered to by all the workers of our company include:
• Domino effect
Finding a positive example (a person, a team, a business unit) that exceeds expectations and can serve as inspiration for the rest of the organization is vital for the Purpose to be adhered to.
When Purpose is made constant and never doubted, it is amazing what happens: The purpose is transformed into collective consciousness and therefore the culture changes and the organization begins to function at a higher level. The processes become simpler and easier to execute and sustain.
• The role of middle managers
To create an inspired and committed workforce, middle managers need to know the purpose of the organization and connect deeply with it and lead with moral authority.
This goes beyond what most companies ask their staff in these positions within the company.
• The dynamizers
Each organization has a group of agents of change that generally is not taken advantage of. We can classify them as (positive) dynamizers and we must help them connect, create a group among them as these people move, share ideas and collect comments and new ideas. The dynamizers are usually willing to tell the truth and openly challenge the assumptions, the sacred cows, the dogmas that we have as a company
• Connect people with the Purpose
Once we have the leaders and middle managers aware and empowered with the purpose, it is time to expand their internalization to all levels of the organization. But this cannot be done vertically.
Employees should help driving this process, because then the purpose is more likely to permeate the culture, shape the behavior even when managers are not there to see how people are handling things.
• Recruitment process
Another way to ensure that the Purpose is adhered to by the entire workforce, is to make it visible in our recruitment so that from the process itself they are clear and know in advance the fundamental aspect of the organization they are aspiring to enter and can make an informed decision.
Knowing the Purpose of the company from the first day is key for the new incorporations to enter the business culture and act consistently.
Finally, I would like to reaffirm the idea that the Purpose is not something exclusive to the leaders of the organization, but that it is something that belongs to all levels of the organization, from lower level operators, middle managers, the team manager, and each person who works and collaborates with the company.
The Purpose is the DNA of the company and must be an integral part of each person who is already linked to the company, and is part of the recruitment process so that the new incorporations are clear of the Purpose of the company.
Having a Purpose as a company, as an organization, greatly contributes to having happier employees working for us, since they have a bigger incentive than the economic one.
Because only when an organization is really framed for a purpose, its employees really begin to appreciate what it means to them and their work since it is the company’s contribution for others, for the society, for a better future.