Continuing our discussion of “best place to work” environments, let’s explore the next dimension of successful workplaces, as identified by the Gallup Organization. (For a look at the first seven dimensions, see my previous blog posts on this topic.)
#8: The mission/purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
I think small businesses have an edge over larger corporations here. Because there aren’t as many “layers” of organizational structure through which messages must be filtered, the communication of the company’s mission, purpose, vision, values and goals can travel directly from the business owner’s mouth to the employees’ ears. Of course, there is a catch: The business owner actually needs to have a clearly articulated mission and vision.
Small business owners often fly by the seat of their pants, getting so caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities that they don’t take time out for business planning—a process that involves creating and clarifying your mission, purpose, vision and so on.
But let’s assume that you have developed these key business components and communicated them to your employees. That’s not a one-shot deal; regular reinforcement is necessary for employee morale and engagement. Keep in mind, however, that employees sometimes need to have “soak time”—the time to think about exactly how what they do contributes to the organization. The staff meeting offers a great opportunity for fulfilling this need.
Tips for Staff Meetings
- Consider asking employees to share how they contributed to the purpose of the organization in the last month, week or day. The question helps employees really stop and think about their roles and responsibilities. And any time an employee can articulate his or her perception of the connection between a job and the organization’s purpose, the more engaged in that work the employee is likely to be.
- Because your business’s purpose likely revolves around clients, why not share stories or feedback from clients on how working with your firm has positively impacted their lives? Letting employees hear these comments can be extremely powerful, as it can solidify the connection between the paperwork and other tasks your staff process every day and the client’s financial well-being.
In addition, recognizing an employee for doing something extraordinary that contributes to the purpose of the organization is a way to reinforce your message. You can do it informally when you MBWA (manage by wandering around) or, you can formally recognize an employee in a staff meeting.
In the haste of getting all our tasks done, we can sometimes overlook these simple ideas. If that’s your tendency, consider adding a standing agenda item to your staff meeting so employees can contribute and better understand how important their roles are. It could be as simple as: “This week’s examples of living our mission and purpose!”
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network