Business: Mastering Employee Engagement, Part 1, by Man of Faith
The Most Important Strategy For Revitalizing Your Organization
Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for. —Victor Frankl
Psychiatrist, neurologist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl wrote Man’s Search For Meaning – one of the ten most influential books in United States history according to the Library of Congress. His experiences taught him that our main drive in life is neither pleasure (as Freud thought), nor power (as Adler thought), but instead meaning.
When contemplating the notion of employee engagement, it occurred to me that the systemic cause of low engagement is a crisis of meaning. And the highest calling of a leader is to carry out an analysis of himself, and his organization; to discover the meaning – the core purpose – and bring that purpose alive. As he models that purpose, it becomes a magnet for creating a winning, fulfilling culture.
The way industry has been dealing with this “crisis of meaning” is to define a new buzzword (“employee engagement”), give it lip service, and make half-baked attempts to measure and manage it. It seems little real progress is being made (despite over two million results in Google, over 4,000 news articles and the ubiquitous employee satisfaction survey).
The New York Conference Board, a century-old research firm that began studying employee satisfaction and engagement 25 years ago, reports that worker happiness has fallen every year – in good economic times and bad – since they began to study the issue. Today, according to their research, over half of American workers effectively hate their jobs.
Further, seventy percent of HR professionals confirm that employee engagement is an issue. A lack of engagement results in dysfunctional relationships, lower productivity and an unwillingness to go beyond the job description. Some studies have found that the majority of disengaged employees don’t even quit: they stay, collect their paycheck, and damage productivity and relationships.
Unfortunately, many leaders and their constituencies continue to suffer from the draconian corporate belief that employees are to be used as tools to optimize profit. Yet with increasing attention on corporate social responsibility and employee engagement, we are beginning to understand that there is a direct correlation between the positive emotions an employee feels, and his performance, productivity, creativity, innovation, loyalty, commitment – all leading to profit.
The Vital Strategy for Creating Meaning and Connection at Work:
Core purpose is the meaning your organization yearns for. If your employee can find meaning in work, through the broader context of organizational purpose, his or her level of inspiration will rise. The extent to which that purpose is embedded in the DNA of employee culture, is the extent to which the people in the organization will feel connected to themselves, and a higher cause. This factor has proven itself in Jim Collins’s seminal research at Stanford University, where he found that connection to a core purpose was a key factor in ‘building a company to last‘. For CEOs who believe that employee engagement matters, internalizing core purpose as the organizational reason for being should transcend all else. And not just because it creates more financial value – which it does – but because helping people find meaning in their work is a key component to helping people find happiness in their lives. And the ripple effect of living happier and more inspired lives makes for happier spouses, kids, friends, relatives, and community. We live in a state of interconnection, and Delivering Happiness to workers enables leaders to improve the prosperity of society and inspire a better world.
Continues next month…
Mikael Meir, CEO and founder of Mikael Meir Inc., is a leadership coach focused on empowering socially conscious entrepreneurs, executives and social change leaders with the tools and skills necessary to achieve true success. After spending 17 years learning the art and science of entrepreneurship, he spent the last three years on an inner journey through Self, metaphysics, theology and psychology. This has led him to an expanded sense of Self, and has served as the foundation of inner peace, joy, freedom and abundance. His intention is to share this learning with the business world.