Purpose, Values and Employee Engagement

By Qaalfa Dibeehi

Purpose, Values and Employee Engagement

How does a business ensure that its people  are happy and willing to make that sacrifice for the greater good of the business?  It helps and perhaps is even necessary that they all share a common purpose. John Kotter and James Heskett, “Corporate Culture and Performance“, found that companies operating with a shared sense of purpose increased job growth by 700%, revenues by 400% and stock prices by 1200%. Bartlett and Ghostal outlined the basic philosophical shift that guides the shared purpose movement away from the “old doctrine of strategy, structure, and systems” to “a softer, more organic model built on the development of purpose, process, and people.”

Values-based organisations is another concept that has become popular in leadership circles.  A values-based organisation is one that operates with a strong focus on its core values and principles. In other words, a values-based organisation is one that is actively working towards having its shared purpose be central to its culture.  A key to achieving a values-based organisation is to inspire employees to add their hearts to their heads.  Engaging a great share of an employee’s heart leads to the employees giving a great share of mind to the company.  Employee engagement is key!

Organisations are increasingly coming to realise that values-based leadership is an effective way to achieve growth and stability.  Employees of all sorts (e.g., executives, middle management, full time, contract, etc) are learning to take their own values into ever more significant consideration when applying to, joining, or staying with a company. One huge problem that has received lots of press in the post covid era is quiet quitting – the act of meeting the minimum requirements of the job and being psychologically detached from it.  When employees do not feel a company is authentic with its articulated purpose, quiet quitting is a common result.

Quiet quitting can be thought of as the antithesis of feeling a shared sense of purpose. It is estimated that 50% of the USA workforce are quiet quitters. The figures are similarly inflated everywhere.  Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2023 survey found that up to 75% of UAE workforce report quiet quitting. It’s a worldwide phenomenon.

The bottom line is that more mature companies will build employee experiences that engage employees. This leads to a culture where each person happily shares their talents with the company for the greater good – the company’s purpose. Organisations should be clear about their purpose and I should be coupled with significant management clarity around direction, job responsibilities, and tools that can be used to achieve that purpose.

Read the full post in the HR Observer magazine.