You have determined a company mission, then invested in developing the culture and recruiting the right talent to support it. How do you now build a team that is as committed to your mission as you are? How do you engage your employees to innovate and persevere when you are maneuvering the challenges of rapid growth and a competitive marketplace?

Connect employees to your company mission from day one

The way you bring your new hires into your organization will set the stage for how they approach their work and your customers. A well-thought-out onboarding experience leads to efficiency and consistency in both employee and customer experience.
An onboarding program does not have to be complicated, but it does need to spell out the essentials:

  • Your customer offer
  • How you differentiate your business
  • Your brand and customer standards
  • Key expectations in your workplace

“Entrepreneurs starting out are running the business to almost validate their concepts. But they’re not actually creating a company,” explains inField Clipboard Founder, Rakesh Tiku. “They’re not putting the right structures. There’s no policies.”

Even as a seasoned entrepreneur, Tiku and his team were focused on building and selling the product at first, not writing policies around hiring and financial reporting. “As you get larger, you need to have that well thought-out already and be able to replicate that. The only way to convey the culture as you get larger is to have the managers live and breathe and fully agree with that culture. And the only way to do that is through documentation and training.”

Ensure the people in your organization get the correct message on the things that matter. Avoid the ‘telephone game’ by clearly documenting expectations in guides and training tools. An employee guide is not just a useful tool for new employees and job training – it can be used for ongoing reference and annual refreshers to help maintain a focus on your brand standards and company mission.

Leaders often want to get employees to work right away, but getting onboarding right first will ensure they feel supported and are much more quickly able to work independently in line with your culture. No employee wants to walk around embarrassed with the equivalent of toilet paper stuck to a shoe.

Show employees their purpose and contribution

A man draws on a whiteboard outlining the company mission success metrics.

It is difficult for employees to be excited about a task when they are not clear on it’s purpose.

Humans are hardwired to pursue meaning. Economist Dan Ariely found subjects in his study would assemble significantly fewer Lego objects if those objects were torn apart in front of them. This held true even when they were passionate about Lego in their everyday life. Loving the work, and being paid for it, was not enough when the meaning and appreciation for their efforts were removed.

How often do we hire someone for passion, but then inadvertently squash their brilliance? We do this by not acknowledging their work or allowing them to see the impact of their contributions and initiative on our organization.

Provide every member of your team a clear understanding of what success looks like and how that is measured. Access to a simple dashboard is a dynamic and scalable way to share progress on meaningful measurements and invite insights. This establishes trust and helps employees connect the dots between their work and the larger organization.

Access to a simple dashboard is a dynamic and scalable way to share progress on meaningful measurements and invite insights. Click To Tweet

Ensure teams are also aware of how their co-workers and other functional areas contribute to your organization’s success. Seeing how important they and their coworkers are to their shared company mission will promote cooperation and collaboration. It also facilitates efficiency and innovation; when they see how all the pieces fit together, they are in a position to identify ways to work together more effectively.

Share how you measure progress and success

A finger points at a graph that shows growth in metrics, placed on a wooden table - progress towards achieving company mission.

Companies often track key performance indicators (KPIs), but withhold much of this information from employees out of fear of revealing more than they may need to know. In other cases, management teams provide narrow and aggressive targets, without context.

In addition to any metrics an employee needs to be aware of for their role, it is equally important they have the big picture on key outputs for your organization, such as productivity and customer feedback. There really is no better way to show how they and their colleagues contribute to the primary purpose of your business.

“If we really want to measure it, it has to be important,” says Rakesh Tiku. “And it has to therefore be communicated. If I really want to hit that goal in three years, I have the make sure everybody knows it, we repeat it, and we track against it.” Weekly inField management teams are mandatory, and then managers share contributions and metrics in their regular team meetings. This helps overcome the biggest obstacle: “Remembering that it’s important.”

It may be tempting to sacrifice this level communication to spend more time on core priorities, such as closing and delivering on customer contracts. But without this continued investment, employees silently withdraw their efforts and that impacts your bottom line.

Taking the time to share information will make your team more connected and committed to your ultimate purpose. They will be in a better position to help you adapt, innovate, and stay competitive in meeting your customers’ needs.

Next week: Building a Team as Excited About Your Company Mission as You Are (Part 2)

Pauline James, MIR, Principal, Anchor HR

[email protected]

About Pauline James:

Pauline has held a number of senior positions and led Employee Relations and Labour Relations in the Canadian market with large national organizations. Over her career she has also held roles in Training & Development, as an HR Generalist, and in Operations.

She has supported small independent units and large complex divisions in identifying barriers to employee engagement and performance. This has resulted in an improved employee experience, while also reducing risk and costs. Having worked closely with her clients and as a leader herself, she is sensitive to the genuine desire of leaders to provide a great work environment while meeting business objectives. Pauline is committed to working with her clients to help them become more effective, respecting their business’ unique challenges.

Pauline has a track record of working with Operations and HR divisions to build effective and sustainable programs, tailored to their needs. This includes support from the design through to implementation, including leader training and employee communications. What is unique about her approach is that she is committed to teaching and helping leaders to become independent as opposed to promoting reliance on an ‘expert’.