As we mentioned in the previous article, engagement goes way beyond employee surveys. I’ve learned through my experience and research that engagement is proportionally related to purpose, value, and recognition. As a leader, it is up to you to make and sustain these connections. If your team’s engagement is taking a dip, here are a few steps you can take to re-establish those connections and bring the team back up to par (and even increase it over time).
Step #1: Ask yourself if you understand your company’s “PMV”, otherwise known as their purpose (why your company exists; the greater good of the organization), mission (what needs to be done to support the bigger vision), and vision (a future, purpose-aligned destination).
I understand that this is a loaded question because many companies either don’t have all three, or they have articulated them in ways that are wordy or confusing. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that you work for a company whose purpose, mission and vision are relatively clear. Start by revisiting the company’s PMV by yourself. Look at how your role as a leader aligns to the purpose and helps the vision come to fruition. Then, write down how each individual contributor on your team is part of the mission. Take time to understand the PMV.
Step #2: Discuss your company’s PMV with your team.
It is all too easy to lose sight of these corporate mandates. They can seem distant, abstract, and irrelevant when factored into the day-to-day minutia of seeing the mission through. First, go over the company’s mission, vision, and purpose with your team. Then, ask them where they fit into making the mission happen.
Next, look at the company’s purpose.
As a side note: the company’s “why” should resonate at every organizational level. Forbes reported that “while 72% of top leaders said they involved employees in developing the organization’s purpose, only 56% of front line employees agree [with the purpose]. This disconnection is what drives disengagement.” If your team is disconnected from your company’s purpose, keep the conversation going. What does your team think the purpose is? What do they think it should be? How much (if at all) does the purpose deviate from the corporate mandate? This is not only an effective way to connect with your team, and to make them feel appreciated, heard and valued, it is also great feedback for the executive team who might appreciate knowing where the disconnect lies.
Step #3: Creating purpose at the individual level
Meeting with your team members individually is by far one of the best uses of your time as a new leader. Creating a positive relationship with each member of your team that is rooted in trust, respect, and a genuine interest in their well-being is foundational to your success as a leader. Hold regular one-on-one sessions with your individual contributors to check-in on progress, offer advice, understand how you can be of service to them, and touch-base on personal well-being. In addition, have conversations that will help them to connect with (or discover) their purpose as it relates to the job they’re doing for the organization. Help them know how their contribution and value ladders up to something much greater than answering emails, completing projects and going to meetings.
By prioritizing individual one-on-one time with your employees, you will, over time, gauge what works best for each person, and build a team that is more purpose-driven than it was before.