A couple weeks back I wrote about 8 Ways a Leader Energizes Their Team and stressed how it all starts with a compelling purpose. Since then I have been receiving a common question. How do you help every single person in the organization find alignment with the purpose? In other words how do you prove worthwhile work?
The responsibility rests squarely on the leader’s shoulders. I always say it is very easy for a heart surgeon to connect with the purpose of the organization and see the importance of their work. They are clearly saving lives and it is happening right in front of them.
However, many jobs may not be that easy of a connection. I have found the following to be effective in helping employees align with the purpose and realize the importance of their work:
- Customer Testimonials
- Have customers come in and speak at All Employee Meetings. Ask the customer to share how they could not accomplish their purpose without your employee’s efforts in providing products or services.
- Do some videotaped interviews with customers where they relay their appreciation to employees to let them know the difference they are making by performing their jobs. Show the videos at All Employee Meetings.
- Post accolade letters from customers for all employees to see.
- Field Trips
- Take your employees out to a customer’s site or organization to see first hand how their work is being used and enjoyed. My wife worked for a ‘high end’ cabinet shop that takes their employees on an annual bus tour to the homes of people that have installed their cabinetry. It gives employees the opportunity to hear from the customers, and see what amazing living spaces they are creating.
- Show the Big Picture (Impact of Supply Chain)
- When I worked in the printing industry it was not always easy for employees to connect to our customer’s objectives. I had a customer who distributed wine via direct mail catalogs. They took video footage of a wedding reception of one of their customers to illustrate to our employees how their great work on the catalog enabled and provided value to a once in a lifetime event.
- Showcase the Organization
- Take customers on plant/site tours at every possible opportunity. Allow them to talk to employees. This provides employees the opportunity to show pride in their work by showcasing their talents and the value they provide the customer.
- Have an open house for all employees and their families to be able to see all aspects of the great organization that they work for.
Servant leaders realize that when people understand how worthwhile their work is, and can connect that work to the achievement of the organization’s purpose, they are passionate about their work! Passion in the workplace is infectious. Customers want to be associated with people who have a passion for their work. Southwest Airlines, Chic-Fil-A, and Ritz Carlton are all great examples of this.
What are you doing as a leader to ensure your people know how important their work is to the achievement of the purpose?
Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. Romans 1:20