The Vital Role of Purpose and Meaning in Employee Engagement

We have explored the importance of internal customer care in several of our past blog articles such as The Customer Journey, Customer Care Begins at Home and Emotional Intelligence in the Age of Automation. These core internal customer service values can only be put into action when the organization’s management understands how vital a sense of purpose and meaning is for their staff.
Employees who are valued and recognized are employees who are happier, more fulfilled in their lives and more engaged at work. When they feel that their work has purpose, they are inspired to give more than expected to the company, to develop professionally and make efforts to help their team members.

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, and more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy

According to a Temkin Group survey and article, when employees know that their work is valued and contributes to the overall success of the company, they are:

  • Three times more likely to stay late at work if needed
  • Four times more likely to do something good for their company that is not expected of them
  • Five times more likely to recommend the company’s products and services to friends, family and colleagues
  • Over five times more likely to recommend an improvement that can be made at the company

Anyone who works, manages, trains or consults in the customer service industry knows how important it is to connect with employees, and gain insight into daily work life and experience. We can take that data and design training that will empower them and provide a work environment, internal communication process and tools to ensure their success. If a company’s management is willing to consider how crucial employee purpose and engagement is to the company’s overall profitability, we can help them understand how to lead in more positive, generative and supportive way.
However, according to recent Gallup polls, over 50% of the American workforce is either actively or passively looking for another job. This is a cause for great concern, and a sign that the most company cultures are in need of a major transformation. Here are just a few reasons that cause employees to become disengaged:

  • They feel under-valued or do not receive recognition.
  • They feel disconnected from the company’s mission, if they even understand what it is.
  • They feel left out of important communication and decisions that impact their daily work.
  • They are bullied, harassed, unfairly blamed or misunderstood
  • They are made to feel unsafe about the security of their job
  • They feel shame or embarrassment.
  • They experience a lot of stress at the workplace, which in turn affects their health, family and personal life
  • They are underpaid and overworked
  • They lack the knowledge to confidently deliver in their role

“It’s sad, really, how a negative workplace can impact our lives and the way we feel about ourselves. The situation is reaching pandemic heights – most people go to work at jobs they dislike, supervised by people who don’t care about them, and directed by senior leaders who are often clueless about where to take the company.” – Leigh Branham and Mark Hirschfeld

When leaders are aware of this direct connection between workplace culture and employee engagement, they can choose to make the commitment to make positive connections with their employees and – as proactive, positive leaders do – take employee feedback seriously, recognize strengths and accomplishments and, in every way possible, bring out the best in them. Highlighting an employee’s value and worth helps them build self-esteem and courage, which will make them feel better about their job and their life in general.
employee recognitionSo how can we as leaders make sure people know how valued and appreciated they are? We can start with consistent, positive communication. We can create programs whereby we make sure to recognize employees for their dedication and any special achievements. We make sure that they are compensated according to their skill level and experience.
We can also recognize employees for their or their family members’ service, activities, talents and successes outside the workplace, thereby really seeing them not only as employees, but as members of the community.
How can we as employees ensure that we are given the value, recognition and compensation we deserve? By providing constructive feedback to our supervisors whenever possible. However, if in spite of performing as expected, making best efforts and multiple attempts to affect change in the workplace culture, you continually experience any of the causes listed above for employee disengagement, it may be time to move on. If you find yourself experiencing constant stress, shame, blame or just a general decrease in self-esteem, you may simply be in a toxic environment. Remind yourself that you are, first and foremost, a human being and are a very valuable resource to any workplace; you deserve to be treated with care and respect.

“Employees engage with employers and brands when they’re treated as humans worthy of respect.” – Meghan M. Biro

There is great power in having purpose and meaning at work, which is the foundation for employee engagement, happiness, and professional success. Companies who are known for their exceptional customer care have connected their internal dots. They also have an engaged, happy and loyal workforce.

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Customer Service Institute of America