As Chief Inspiration Officer for an HR consulting firm supporting small businesses, I speak with owners and leaders every day who tell me they want to keep their best talent and attract the best talent. My advice to them to encourage engagement and retention is to cultivate a purpose-driven workplace.
Your best talent won’t leave you for more money. They’ll leave because they don’t feel their contributions are purposeful. People want to be connected with something bigger than themselves. That’s what makes your best employees stay: when they feel purpose in their work.
What does a purpose-driven culture look like?
A purpose-driven workplace is one in which people are empowered and encouraged to do their best work for outcomes beyond just “getting it done.”
A purpose-driven workplace is thriving and flourishing. When challenges come up (and they will!), your team rallies together to solve the challenges. Your company is often better off for the challenge: your team will come up with new insights and innovations to avoid future challenges—and create new opportunities for business growth.
What is your company’s higher purpose?
So often, we are focused on the day-to-day. I understand that. It’s a very challenging time to run a business. Putting out today’s fires often come at the cost of reflecting on the greater good that your company can be doing: for your clients, for your suppliers and vendor partners, and for your community. But it’s that higher purpose that keeps your employees engaged. We all want to know our contributions are making a difference. Fostering a purpose-driven workplace means keeping your eyes—and your team’s eyes—on the big picture. This is true of tenured employees and employees just out of school. All of us want to feel connected to our work and contribute to a greater purpose.
A purpose-driven workplace isn’t just about keeping your eye on the big picture.
It’s also about ensuring that everything your team does is done with purpose and intention. It’s about solving challenges efficiently. It’s about focus. Staying organized. Ensuring key systems are optimized. Being several steps ahead. Knowing what we are here to do, and what to do next.
Effective communication skills are essential in a purpose-driven workplace.
Think about the last poor customer service experience you had with another company. I can assure you, that poor customer service was due in no small part to poor communication within the company. As the saying goes, the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.
- Are you checking in with your employees consistently?
- Are your meetings run with a tight agenda?
- Are next steps communicated well throughout the company?
- Are you encouraging consistent and effective feedback among team members?
There’s always an opportunity to improve communication, whether it’s in a one-to-one check-in with a team member, with a department, or across the company.
Running a purpose-driven company means knowing your purpose—and acting from it.
What is your vision for your company or your department? What does success look like? Go beyond KPIs and metrics. Think about the impact you seek to make with your clients and employees. It’s easy to get swallowed up in the day-to-day. There’s always another email to read, a memo to write, or a To-Do item to check off. Being purpose-driven means knowing first your higher purpose. Maybe you’ve forgotten your purpose, or it’s a little fuzzy. Reflect for a moment: what are you here to do? What is the change you seek to make?
Once you reconnect with your company’s purpose, communicate it. Consistently. With passion. Every employee should know the bigger purpose for your company, what true success looks like. It’s a message you can’t repeat often enough. Especially when work is stressful. We need to be reminded of the Why behind our work and its true and higher purpose.
Engage your team to operate with purpose.
When we act with purpose, we act with decisiveness. With focus. We are consistent. We show up on time and we bring our best selves to the work. Each action your employees can take can make a difference in somebody else’s life. I am reminded of the classic story of the janitor at NASA in the early 1960s who was asked what did for NASA. While the janitor was mopping the floor, he said, “I’m putting a man on the moon.”
What’s your purpose-driven workplace look like to you? Describe it. Document it. Then lead from that purpose. You’ll feel more engaged in your work. And so will your employees.
At Inspiring HR, we uncomplicate HR and empower small businesses. Ready to learn more about how we can help you? Call us at 804-715-1920 or drop us a line to schedule a consultation to speak with an Inspiring HR consultant.
This article does not constitute legal advice. It is strongly suggested that you seek consultation or legal counsel before making decisions about policies.