'Velcro' Your Employees to Your Organization's Purpose

Drive Engagement, Build Loyalty and Improve Retention

By Sandy Asch Principal, Alliance for Organizational Excellence LLC | March 26, 2017

Baby boomers, Gen Xers, and especially Millennials, who now make up more than 50 percent of the workforce, want a sense of purpose at work. It's clear that today's workforce is increasingly concerned with doing good. People are tired of just showing up every day to perform a job. They want lasting fulfillment at home and at work.

In his book, Drive, Daniel H. Pink suggests that we are in a time where individual desire to have a positive impact in the world often ranks higher than pay scale when selecting a job. Millennials, in particular, want to feel like their work has real purpose, and they want to be home for dinner.

Companies are expected to cast a vision for greater purpose that wins the hearts and minds of all stakeholders. Organizations that want to prosper will need to focus more on meaning. You can do this through a compelling mission and vision-one that offers employees a sense of pride, satisfaction and fulfillment; a sense that they are contributing to a better world.

The mission statement for San Diego Zoo Global states that it is "committed to saving species worldwide by uniting our expertise in animal care and conservation science with our dedication to inspiring passion for nature." These words permeate every aspect of the organization, from the executive team, to the researchers working in the field, the tour guides sharing information with guests, the animal care workers, and everyone in between. It is SDZG's reason for being. This vision, which some might consider audacious, unites all stakeholders in a common goal. It provides a clear sense of purpose and meaning, aligning all constituents to the
fulfillment of the cause.

Connecting People to the Purpose

It's not enough just to have a clear purpose. People at every level of the organization must live and breathe its values, mission, and vision. After all, your vision and values is what you stand on, what guides your daily actions and behaviors, informs decisions and ultimately determines what you focus on. It is the lighthouse that calls
every person forward and calibrates each individual. That, in turn, determines the direction your organization takes. If people aren't playing by the same rules, behaving according to the same standards, and fully bought into what's important, then they begin to navigate in different directions, resulting in inconsistency and lack of alignment results.

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