Merge's Blog

Want employee engagement? Ensure that your people have a sense of purpose about their jobs

In my last instalment in this video series, I talked about how you can create employee engagement simply by being clear about the performance you desire from your staff.  Today’s strategy: create a vision and sense of purpose.

Create a vision and sense of purpose

As a leader, it’s up to you to create a shared vision, so that your team members can see the big picture.  To create employee engagement, you should be creating a sense of purpose; so that your employees appreciate their significance to your department and your organization.  Now, sometimes people don’t understand what I mean when I say this, so let me try and clarify by using an example from my own professional experience.

The bad

Here’s a description of what I do:

As a professional speaker and trainer, I travel to over 100 cities a year giving keynotes and seminars.  Unfortunately, I find myself spending a lot of time in airports, usually running to catch a flight that I invariably miss due to a late connection, and then sitting around for several hours waiting for the next flight.  In the airport, I often have to deal with overworked staff whose customer service skills have deteriorated as the day has worn on.  In a nutshell, they’re cranky, and as a result, often quite difficult to deal with.  When I finally get to my destination, I often find myself eating a poorly-cooked (and overpriced) meal, and then sleeping in an uncomfortable bed.  In a nutshell, I get cranky, and often difficult to deal with! 

So here’s my question – after this description, would you want my job?  I suspect that many of you would answer, “No way, Merge. Keep your job!”

The good

Now consider this alternate description of what I do.

As a professional speaker and trainer, I travel to over 100 cities a year giving keynotes and seminars.  I help people in organizations maximize their individual and team results by giving them specific and practical tools to communicate and work more effectively with their staff and colleagues.  Through my efforts, people are entertained, energized, engaged, and inspired with the confidence and knowledge to not only manage potentially difficult situations, but to also lead others to greater professional and personal success. 

Now, after this account, would you want my job?  I suspect that many more of you would respond in the affirmative to this second description.

Make sure employees see how the positives outweigh the negatives

Unfortunately, both the descriptions I gave you are true!  The reality is that any and all jobs have negative components to them, and you can see some of mine portrayed in the first account.  If people don’t have a shared vision, the negative components become overwhelming.  It’s the second description that defines my purpose, and allows me to deal with the negative aspects of what I do.

Creating a shared vision promotes teamwork and instills a sense of pride.  This is what truly creates employee engagement.  When your team members understand the purpose of their jobs and why their positions are important to the company, they get excited and motivated by what they do.  Start by asking them how they think they fit into the big picture, and then help them develop the answer themselves.

So … do you see the vision and sense of purpose in your role as a leader?  And … can you put your hand over your heart and say that every single one of your employees sees the vision and sense of purpose in what each of them do in their roles in your department?  I would love to hear from you!

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