In the previous blog “Combating The Great Resignation,” we reviewed the Bureau of Labor Statistics that a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April, and a recent Microsoft report indicated another 41% of the global workforce is considering leaving their jobs by the end of this year. Signs like these have driven organizations to realize they are in trouble if they do not start to figure out how to combat this new trend called “The Great Resignation.”
One of the primary steps to combat “The Great Resignation” is for businesses to identify their Organizational Purpose. Employees today want to feel like they are making a difference. They want to believe in the organization and what it stands for. An organizational purpose statement goes deeper than the standard mission and vision statements that organizations post (and then may ignore). A good purpose statement gives employees “why” they should believe in the organization and allows them to emotionally connect with what they are doing. The organizational purpose statement (when used correctly) gives employees the direction they should work toward and is the basis for decision making and unity.
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So how do organizations develop and deploy an organizational statement? Here are 5 R’s to make yours a reality:
1) Review. Look at your organizational artifacts, legends, and heritage. Get a true understanding of the things that made your organization what it is today. Talk to customers and employees to find out what they hold as having great importance. For example, at my company, it is Dale Carnegie’s bestselling book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and the principles within it. By understanding the organizational legacy and what customers and employees hold as important, you can create a purpose statement that has relevance and connects with people in the real world.
2) Relate. When crafting the purpose statement make sure it is tangible, compelling, and straightforward enough for employees to buy in and make it their own. Everyone in the organization whether they are an employee on the assembly line in a manufacturing plant or the CEO of a finance company should be able to relate to it and grab onto it as a litmus test when making decisions. When crafting the language of an organizational purpose statement, it should resonate both logically and emotionally with customers and employees. Avoid using abstract words or phrases that people can’t get their arms around like; “we exist to make the world a better place.” At Dale Carnegie “we change how people see themselves, so they can change how the world sees them, and that changes the impact they have on the world.”
3) Reach. A purpose is something employees will continually reach to achieve. It is a goal that guides what we do but will never fully be completed. Alternatively, it should bring about a never-ending series of new goals, and constantly drive employees forward. Looking at the Dale Carnegie example above, even if we worked a lifetime, we would not be able to reach every person in the world to help them change how they see themselves.
4) Reveal. The purpose statement is a big deal. If you want employees and customers to adopt it and emotionally connect with it, then revealing it should be with some gravitas. Put thought into how this can be done and then how it can be communicated to the customers as well. This could be done at an annual kick-off meeting, trade show, or with a full marketing program supporting it.
5) Reinforce. The purpose statement will be carried out and fulfilled by the employees. If employees truly bond with it logically and emotionally, it will guide how they make decisions, solve problems and innovate. The thing that can kill the purpose statement from being fully adopted by the employees is the management team. Make sure all managers are on board with the importance of the organizational purpose. Incentives and recognition programs can be built into reinforcing the organizational purpose for both managers and employees.
Organizations that want to future-proof against high turnover should follow these steps to develop and deploy an organizational purpose statement. This will also allow them to become an employer of choice and win new employees in the future.
Interested in learning more about employee engagement? Join us for a complimentary 1.5-hour webinar, Managers Matter: Remote Employee Engagement, on August 18, 2021, at 9:00 AM.