Trust and integrity.
Or, more specifically, two powerful words that the future of your business relies on not just from your customers, but from your employees too.
These two emotive words make up a huge part of employee engagement. They conjure up a feeling of commitment and communication that happens between an organisation and its workers, and they help employees walk the path to productivity and joy in the workplace.
Engagement can be measured – whether it’s poor or great or somewhere in between – and it can be nurtured, just like it can be tossed to the sidelines.
So, just to recap, this is what it means for employees to be engaged:
- It means the employee understands their role in the company and knows how they fit into the bigger picture
- It’s about an employee having a clear understanding of how the company is fulfilling its overall purpose and objectives
- It’s when employees fully feel like a part of the team, and feel trusted and empowered every single day
- It means employees are party to regular constructive feedback from their superiors
Notice here how we don’t mention the product the company is selling, which begs the question: does an employee need to believe in the product of service to be an engaged member of staff?
This question has a deeper connotation.
Perhaps the better thing to ask is whether employees can connect to the purpose of the business. The product or service could be anything in the world, but if the employee doesn’t believe in the outcome it delivers, they’ll struggle to align with its purpose and, therefore, are less likely to be engaged.
How to align your business purpose with your employees
The key driver of purpose starts with whether your employees truly believe your company offers customers something that helps them solve a problem.
In a study by Deloitte, this was the number one factor employees stated when it came to defining purpose.
We can see from this that the work itself (or the product of service) is the most basic driver of purpose in the workplace.
Knowing that the work they are doing is going towards something useful and that customers are buying into a product that will actively help them makes up a major part of whether an employee is engaged or not.
Punit Renjen, the CEO of Deloitte, says the first step in creating purpose is to define why a company exists in the first place and the next step is to identify the impact it has on its customers and clients. “If tomorrow this organisation was to vanish from earth,” he says, “people would miss us because we made an impact that matters.”
How to Help Employees Believe in Your Business
It’s not just important for employees to believe in your product for their own engagement, but it also helps with sales too. According to research, 41% of consumers believe that employees are the most credible source of information in a company.
This means that, if your employees believe in what you’re selling, your customers are more likely to believe in it too.
So, if purpose and belief go along way in boosting employee engagement and sales, it’s time to start thinking about how you can instill that throughout your team.
1. Tie Purpose to Employee Values
It’s a common mistake from managers to assume that purpose is driven by huge company values but, while these do matter to a certain extent, it’s more important that the purpose of your business ties in with the personal values of your employees.
This is why it’s a great start to know what exactly your employees value both inside and outside the workplace. You can then position your purpose to fit around their needs and goals.
2. Discuss How Your Product Makes a Difference
Your employees won’t know whether they believe in your product or not if they don’t know how it makes a difference to the people that invest in it.
To do this, it’s important to regularly talk about how your products or services help customers and clients. To really hammer home the point, you can always invite customers to share their stories and experiences with your workforce.
3. Educate Your Team
As well as knowing how the product of service makes a difference to buyers, it helps if employees know where you’re positioned in the market.
In a study by Gallup, 3,000 workers were asked to assess their agreement with the statement “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand different from our competitors.”
Surprisingly, only 41% of employees strongly agreed with the statement.
Which means – you’ve got it – that more than half of employees don’t even know how the company they work for is different from others out there.
Think about it: how can your employees believe in what you’re selling if they don’t know why it’s better than similar products or services out there?
Because of this, it’s important that you fully educate your employees on where your business sits in the market in relation to your competitors.
4. Be Consistent
Constantly changing the purpose of your business will confuse employees and make it difficult for them to fully get behind it.
As a result, it’s important to keep your values and positioning in the market consistent. Then, every single employee can determine where they sit in the value-purpose narrative and be engaged in a way that’s authentic to themselves and the company.
5. Grow Your Business With Your Team
Your employees quickly become a part of the business – they’re the people who are helping it grow every single day – so by inviting them to become a part of the process, you’re helping them craft a product and service they truly believe in.
Encourage them to get involved in guiding the direction the business is going in, and help them figure out their own purpose within that growth strategy.
Belief and Purpose Lead to Engagement
Belief in the product of service is just one part of what makes up the material of an engaged employee, but it helps boost other areas that are important.
When an employee believes in what they’re doing and selling, they’re more likely to be productive and become stalwart ambassadors of your business.
Over to you – how do you help your employees believe in your product of service?