Helping Employees Find Their Passion
Earlier this year HubSpot published a post about 17 Truly Inspiring Company Vision and Mission Statement Examples. For example, TED has a mission To spread ideas. JetBlue, on the other hand, exists To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.
One thing you quickly notice about these statements is how they speak directly to the heart. None of the companies in the HubSpot article has a mission to increase revenue by 15% over the course of the fiscal year. Once you start talking dollars and cents you know that you're in the terrain of goals and objectives. The Big Picture, the why your organization exists as opposed to how or what you're going to do transcends the domain of the mind. It speaks to the emotions that govern passion and commitment.
The Importance of Everyday Passion
It's one thing to inspire passion in your mission statement. It's an entirely different matter when it comes to everyday activities on the shop floor. Yes, we all know that workers, younger employees in particular, want more from employment than just a job. They want a sense of mission, purpose and community. And if they don’t find it, they will move on - younger employees rarely stay with a company for more than three years.
In order to be true to your organization's mission statement it's important to attract - and retain - the best applicants you can find. This is going to mean finding ways to engage their passion as well as their commitment.
Here are just a few of the benefits that come from helping workers form a strong emotional bond with the organization:
1. Lower turnover - over a third of employees who leave a company do so because they don't feel that they have a clear career path or because they are unhappy with work-life balance. Employees that feel the organization "has their back" will be more likely to stay on.
2. Increased discretionary effort - this is the difference between doing the minimum required and "going the extra mile." Employees who are emotionally engaged will be more likely to make the extra effort.
3. Better employee well-being - this isn't just about what the company can get out of its workers. Employees who are emotionally connected to work have been shown to have better outcomes across all areas of life, from health and wellness to psychological well-being.
How to Inspire Passion in the Workforce
Like Dorothy at the end of the movie The Wizard of Oz, most companies have the power they need to get them where they want to go - they may simply not know how to use it. If your organization has a mission statement and a brand, you've already got the emotional roadmap you need to connect with your workforce. The trick is integrating your company's mission and purpose into everyday life.
To make an emotional connection between your workforce and your brand it helps to follow the “three Rs”:
Recognize - The first step toward helping employees connect with their passion is for you to connect with employees. When you recognize the effort that your team members are making you are letting them know that their efforts are worthwhile.
Respect - Employees know that their best ideas can't always be put into action. But they do want these ideas to be taken seriously. Employee feedback needs to be frequent, transparent, and visible. Be sure to let employees know when their feedback is put into action, or if their input gets tabled, let them know why. Making sure feedback goes full circle will let the workforce know that leadership takes them seriously and values their contributions.
Reward - It's easy to confuse the concept of *rewards* with perks and payouts. But when we are talking about helping workers connect on an emotional level we start to see that one of the biggest rewards you can give an employee is to help clear organizational obstacles so that they can take more responsibility and get better results.
Once you've listened to team members, learned what gets their motors running, it becomes easier to see how you can help them take the next step along their career journey. This will build trust, help reinforce corporate values, and deepen the emotional connection workers have with the organization.
Chances are that when you start helping your employees connect with their passion you’ll also find that you’re connecting with your own.