Connecting employees to your purpose
Defining and living your organization’s purpose is the most meaningful way to connect with your employees, create memorable experiences for patients and families and drive growth.
Employees quite literally are the face of your organization to your key external audiences. What they do, what they say and how they say it creates perceptions about your organization in the minds of patients, families and professional referral sources. For example, how your admissions team handles requests for information from families or referrals from physicians makes an impression on their view of your organization as a whole. So, your organization is viewed differently by people based on their interactions with your staff. Are the behaviors of your employees a demonstration of your mission and values in action?
Hopefully your mission and values are more than words on paper. Companies that truly live their brand make concerted efforts to connect employees to their mission and values. Best-in-class companies take it a step further to connect employees to a shared purpose. A purpose statement explains your reason for existing, which then motivates everything you do. It’s your “why”. A mission statement, on the other hand, defines what you do and for whom.
There are clear differences between mission and purpose. In an article from the Disney Institute’s Senior Case Development Director, he reflected on a speech David Packard gave to Hewlett-Packard’s training group decades ago. Packard said, “Purpose (which should last at least 100 years) should not be confused with specific goals or business strategies (which should change many times in 100 years). Whereas you might achieve a goal or complete a strategy, you cannot fulfill a purpose; it’s like a guiding star on the horizon – forever pursued but never reached. The very fact that purpose can never be fully realized means that an organization can never stop stimulating change and progress.”
Purpose can be a strong motivator. Research reinforces the value of aligning employees’ work to an organization’s purpose. The results are evident in employee satisfaction as well as the bottom line. According to a global study on the role of purpose at work, “Employees that are more satisfied and fulfilled are higher performers, more productive and likely to stay longer.” Data also showed that companies that lead with purpose are more profitable. Of purpose-led companies, 85% showed positive growth.
If you haven’t articulated your organization’s purpose, now is the time. A word of caution though, don’t make this a top-down edict. Involve employees at all levels of your organization in the process of defining your purpose. Getting input and buy-in from employees will create a strong purpose statement that everyone can support. To create your purpose statement, consider these questions:
- Who are your audiences?
- What do you do? What services do you provide?
- What sets you apart from other providers in your community?
- Why do patients and families choose your services over those of another organization?
- Why do you work here?
- What do we want for the people we serve?
- How do we make a difference?
Answering these and other questions will set you on the path for defining your true north and aligning your employees toward that direction. Once your purpose has been created and communicated, center everything you do around it. Let the purpose be your compass to lead and grow your organization. Constantly reinforce to your employees how the purpose is realized through their work. In time, you’ll see the impact through employee engagement, employee retention, and patient and family satisfaction.
If Transcend can help your organization define its purpose and engage employees around your “why,” reach out.