I vividly remember the train ride back home from Downtown on the unseasonably warm day in September. My colleagues and I were excitedly chattering away the entire ride home. The conversation was around our morning activity. We were returning from a morning’s session of helping a diverse group of nonprofits solve their strategic IT problems; thrilled to be able to use our everyday skills to help people who made it their job to help others. And we were proud to be working for a company that gave us the opportunity to use our skills to help others. One thing that I do recall thinking was – man,
“if there is only a way to automate all the hard work to organize this then we could have the entire company share the pride and sense of accomplishment instead of the fifty of us.
There might have been glimmers of these moments during your career where the planets feel positioned and where you feel as if there is complete alignment between you and your company, if you are in the 31% of American employees who feel engaged with their workplace, perhaps you feel this all the time. If you are in the group that don’t feel engaged, not to worry, you are not alone.
What is engagement?
Employee engagement is the emotional and intellectual commitment an employee feels to their organization. This makes them
1. Can’t stop saying great things about their company
2. Don’t think of leaving the company and
3. Will go above and beyond for their company.
There are several reasons that drive employee engagement including recognition, communication and alignment with company’s goals. The area that I want to highlight is the alignment, the sense of shared purpose between employees and leaders of the company.
Everyone remembers the President Kennedy story when he visited NASA space center in 1962. Noticing a janitor carrying a broom, he introduced himself and asked him what he was doing. His answer was brilliant, “ Well, Mr President, I am helping put a man on the moon”. How else could a moon shot be successful from dream to reality in nine years without the spirit of NASA and an entire nation behind it..
Shared purpose goes beyond the catchy vision slogan to something that connects the entire organization at an emotional level, it creates the sense of community that nurtures collaboration in the organization, it lights up the spirit of the company to achieve and strive for something greater than themselves.
It goes from Strategy, i.e., what you do to Culture, i.e. how you do something.
Great companies have always managed to tap into that purpose within their people to innovate and reinvent themselves. At various stages of an organization – Inception, Growth, Transformation, Acquisition, this sense of shared purpose is what keeps employees stay and strive in the organization.
This makes the work of leaders at any level extremely critical; as they need to ensure that the shared sense of purpose is always there in their teams and the company.
Written by Deepa Kartha.
Deepa is the Co-founder of Zinda.xyz. Deepa spent most of her career in Financial technology and leadership navigating through mergers, acquisitions, growth and financial crisis. Through these ups and downs, the one thing she constantly worked at was to keep her teams motivated, engaged and excited to come to work. Her passion for employee engagement comes from this experience. Zinda.xyz was founded to make this experience easy, attainable and fun for people and their companies.