I am a board member for a non-profit where I live, and I am so proud to be part of this organization. It’s a cultural and educational center of my city, provides scholarship information and possibilities for low-income students, has a growing library, and a reputation for its quality, humanity, diversity, and the possibilities it provides to the community. Every time anybody asks me what I do, I make sure I mention I am part of this company. Having an organization, school, business, no matter how big or small, that fosters a feeling of pride in its employees is a key component of employee engagement.
There are some impressive places to work – places where, when mentioned, catch our attention. These places have managed to create cult-like loyalty from their employees. Employees not only have an opportunity to show pride in their work but also the organization where they work. Creating an environment in which employees feel proud should not be underestimated.
- Hire proud employees: When interviewing candidates, pay attention to the way they talk about their work. Are they accountable? Do they answer positively when discussing challenges and outcomes? Tone and attitude are a big part of employee pride.
- Create an environment of employee ownership with employee involvement: Successful managers do not sit on a pedestal and holler down like Gru to his minions (in fact, Gru is a pretty great manager when we get to know him). Instead, successful managers invite employees to participate in company decisions.
- Clearly define organizational objectives: This may seem obvious, but more often than we think, employees are working toward something vague, unsure of where their organization is heading. Make clear what the organization’s goals are as well as where the organization hopes to be down the road. People work in places that are congruent with their own beliefs and agendas.
- Communicate how the individual work makes the organization tick: Be clear about the roles of employees within your organization, their value, and how their work keeps the organization functioning. The individual’s performance is critical to the organization’s success. This also gives employees a sense of future growth, creating loyalty and less employee turnover which is costly to any organization.
- Employee independence: Again, this goes back to how damaging micro-managing can be. Employees have been hired to do a job. Let them do it with clear goals and objectives in place, as well as feedback, both positive and critical, when needed. This sense of control, decision-making, creates a feeling of ownership, which is key to employee pride.
- Employees can get what they need to get the job done: This cannot be overstated. The need to provide employees with their working needs whether it be updated software, comfortable chairs, a coffee machine, is key to creating a positive working environment. An employee cannot work if she does not have the tools to do her job well.
- Create an organization based on respect and dignity: Employee engagement almost always goes back to respect as a foundation. Companies must start with respect as a mindset. Senior leaders really need to feel it, and if they don't, things won't change.
Creating a workplace to be proud of can only bring positive results, engaged employees, and make a difference both in the organization’s success as well as employee attitudes.