Engaging the purpose and creativity of your people
The spirit of a business is created by the people who lead it and the people who believe in it and work for it. It is created by the purpose and vision they have for its future and the ways they apply themselves to its growth and development.
As people we have huge reservoirs of creativity and intuitive capabilities that can be drawn upon to use in our every-day work experience. Yet how many of us can say that our creativity was called upon each and every day to create new products, solutions or better relationships? Yet how many problems does a business have that need such innovation on a continuing basis? The greater the spirit of a company, the greater such talents are called for and empowered to be at play.
I’m thinking here of all the companies who achieve the ‘Great Places to Work’ recognition by their employees. If you read such employee testimonials, they always recognise that their creativity, skills and talents are welcomed and put to use by their companies. The companies also find manifold ways to give recognition to their people, ensuring they know that they are making a valuable contribution to the success of their company.
I can strongly recommend taking some time to read the Company profiles of the Top 100 Companies to Work for – it is inspirational to see how having a definite purpose and behaviours that corroborate it can make powerful differences – not only to their staff, but to the success they achieve in the market-place. There are also heaps of ideas that are already being put to use and therefore work, that you can use in your company. As an example, here are some ideas that I drew from the profiles of the top Five Companies:
“MVF’s founders were committed to building a company accountable to its employees, providing great careers and an inspiring workplace, but also one that gave back to its local community.”
“The company has three goals: to be proud of the catering service they provide, to ensure fairness and equality across the company, and to ensure all staff reach their potential through training and support.”
“Cultural architects are people who are passionate about making Chess a great place to work and are elected annually by everyone in the business. They provide critical feedback, producing a weekly morale score for the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.”
“The company tackles issues that other companies avoid, including a session on the gender pay gap where Innocent shared data and took questions from the audience.”
“All managers at all levels have mentoring as part of their job description, as the company believes this is the most effective form of support with the company.”
“The Chief Executive Officer will meet with managers on a monthly basis to discuss what they are working on and all senior managers will be subject to an annual 360 survey, carried out by around 20 colleagues at all levels.”
Everyone has a sustainability objective on their job description.
In summary, what all these companies have in common are:
Clear Purpose – the difference they will make in the world, including their people
Clear Goals – What they will achieve and what they will provide to their customers and people
How they will do this – the principles, values and core beliefs they will apply on the journey
The environment they will create to support their people and customers to make this happen
As consumers ourselves of such companies’ offerings, it is often clear that our experience is better with those companies whose employees are engaged in their organisation’s goals, than with peer companies. When people are allowed to participate in the creative aspects of business and know they can make a difference – whether it’s by giving feedback directly to their Managing Director or by mentoring others – the spirit they engender is contagious.
As technology makes change happen faster, new products and services need to be created for every business wishing to stay fresh and new. Businesses are going to need all the creativity that every person in their organisation can generate. Encouraging this and supporting its occurrence on an ongoing basis requires all leaders to provide the environment and processes that recognise and reward people and their unique contributions to the greater whole.