The Top Influencer in Employee Engagement

Four Tips to Create a Sense of Purpose in your Organization

With reports of low job satisfaction, high turnover rates, and doomsday attitudes about the dismal state of employment in the world, something’s far from rotten in the State of Denmark.

According to the Happiness Research Institute and Krifa, there are lots of shiny, happy Danish people. With a job satisfaction rate of 94%, they seem almost impossibly content. Whereas 52.3% of Americans say they’re unhappy at work, according to a 2014 Report by the Conference Board.

So either Danish people are deliriously positive, Americans miserably gloomy, or, most likely, the answer lies somewhere in between. So to spare you, as a reader, these tired cultural references, let’s talk about what works at work, and why the Danes seemed to have found the key to the ever-elusive satisfaction.

Americans work an average of 47 hours per week – almost six, eight hour days. Considering almost a third of our lives are spent working, it goes without saying, job satisfaction is pretty important. The Happiness Research Institute, in conjunction with Krifa, conducted a detailed study of job satisfaction. And though the results of their studies aren’t surprising, we’d venture to say what matters most is. The study goes in depth to give us a better picture of what matters to employees.

Over the next few blog posts, we’re going to discuss each of the six influencers in terms of job satisfaction and how your organization can prioritize these to affect change in organizational culture and, in turn, improve employee engagement.

The single-most, according to The Happiness Research Institute, factor that affects job satisfaction is purpose. Cynthia Fisher, professor of management at Bond University says, “People are happy when they contribute to something that is bigger than themselves.”

If an employee doesn’t see the point of her job, the reasons behind the procedures of her job, and how her job improves the company she works for, she won’t be a productive, engaged employee. Here are four tips to create a sense of purpose in all your employees:

1. Have a clear, meaningful mission statement: Every employee should know the goals of the institution and WHY his department exists. Ask why. There needs to be clarity as to why each person’s position in the organization is valuable.
2. Make the personal, professional: An employee doesn’t check her dreams at the door as soon as she goes to work. An engaged workforce aligns their talents with the organization’s end goals. Help employees connect their personal goals with the organization’s goals, and see how they find purpose and excel!
3. Human talent: Each employee in your organization has a unique talent. A leader hones in on these talents and feeds them, so each employee can grow. Growing with work is a key way to find purpose.
4. Communication: Be responsive, respectful, and in tune to your employees’ needs. Communication isn’t a series of e-mails and texts, it’s talking to your employees and engaging with them in a meaningful way. Give specific feedback, focusing on the job. Don’t take things personally. Again, focus on the person’s work and performance, not who the person is. Finally, listen, listen, and listen. These communication tips will help you get a pulse of what matters to your employees and, in turn, help you guide them to finding their purpose.

Purpose is the first step toward company success and changing organizational culture. Take a look at your mission statement and ask your employees why. If they don’t know the goals of the organization, they certainly won’t know the reason their individual positions are important.

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