One thing we have noticed over the last few years is a steady increase in candidates looking for a sense of purpose in their work. They want to know how what they are doing, and what their company is going to make a difference in the world. A purpose for existing is something that should show through in a business’ vision and should serve not just as a road map for the business itself but also to help employees see the bigger picture. And we aren’t the only ones that seem to think so: check out # 6 on this list of 7 signs your company isn’t cool enough to work for.
Having a very open dialogue is a great place to start – as a SME I really like to involve the staff in meetings about strategy and finances for example so that everyone is on the same page and understands where the business is going. People like being part of a growing business because they feel the challenges of it and they feel involved – if we are having a great month I like to share that, but I will also share when we are going into a tough period and I don’t want anyone to be under any illusion that it isn’t tough – January for example only has three working weeks and is generally really tight for a services business like us.
People aren’t interested in working just to earn the business money. They want to know how their work, and by proxy their business is going to make the world a better place. Involving your team in figuring out what that purpose is and what it means your business looks like is really important. We had a great session where we talked about our vision which had been a collaborative effort to get to and then talked about how we as a team are going to get there? What does our culture need to be and what do we as a business need to be and that helps the team to buy into the vision – they get to create the workplace that they want to be in to achieve that. As a business owner you’re like ‘awesome all these people are talking about how they are going to get themselves organised to achieve the purpose, they all feel really included and engaged’. I think people do actually appreciate the honesty and we’ve seen the same thing for clients. The employees of businesses that have really open communication channels feel much more engaged because they feel part of something bigger and they can see how their bit in particular makes a difference.
Inviting all your staff to every meeting is obviously not going to work for huge multinationals – the takeaway here is how leaders can make small changes to the way they operate and communicate to ensure staff can be sure of (and proud of) the business purpose.