Employee Purpose – The Golden Thread
Purpose sits at the head of a company’s ‘statements of intent’ and a Golden Thread should run through that brand promise from Purpose to Vision to Mission to Values and Behaviours:
Purpose – the ‘why’ of your business – what you’re doing for your customers, the environment, the planet. This is also, by inference, what your employees can expect from you.
Vision – what the business is aiming for in future years.
Mission – where it’s at now, what business the organisation is in.
Values – our behavioural compass – this is how we do things around here, come what may.
Behaviours – concrete, real-life examples of us living our Values – what we expect, what we sign up to, what we actually day-to-day do.
Of course, it’s easy to draft lofty statements, PR soundbites for the company website, and Virgin, for one, believe it’s vitally important that their Brand Purpose, Vision and Values are actively delivered and brought to life through the Behaviours of employees from top to bottom within the company. Richard Branson was notable for treating his staff the way he wanted them to treat their customers. On office visits, he would personally introduce himself to as many people as he could; he manned phone lines and listened to customer and employee gripes to get a handle on problems that needed fixing; and at weekends he would often ring staff to thank them for delivering first rate service. Friendly, human, relaxed, professional, uncorporate – just as Virgin’s brand values stated on their website.
Creating Employee Engagement and Loyalty
There’s no magic formula for creating stellar levels of employee engagement and customer loyalty but having a strong and heartfelt Purpose that people feel, believe in and buy into is a terrific place to start. After that, let your team loose to bring it to life:
- Find out what gives each and every member of staff a deep sense of satisfaction and draw a line between that and your company’s Purpose
- Give staff the autonomy to bring that Purpose to life, through the Values you espouse and the Behaviours you value most
- Recognise and reward people when they deliver something special or consistently perform to high standards. A gift, a letter, a quiet word of thanks – let them know it’s been seen and that it’s appreciated
- Create opportunities for staff to connect, bond and have fun – the energy those events generate will run through the business long after the moment has passed
- Ensure performance reviews and coaching conversations are focused not just on what people do but on how they’re being when they do it
- Truly listen to customer and employee concerns and act on them – remove blockages to brilliant performance and service
- Give staff the tools, resources and training to deliver service and products they’re proud of
- Hire and promote people into leadership positions who genuinely have the ability and desire to manage and lead other people. To quote one of our clients … “We promoted our best scientists to leadership positions and in the process lost some great scientists and gained some pretty mediocre managers.”
In short, put people first … employees at the head of the queue, customers second, shareholders third … treat your employees right and the service they’ll give to your customers will keep your shareholders happy.