Connecting Employees to Purpose is More Than Just Fluff

Thriving Workplace Culture

Some don’t see the value of connecting with their purpose—thinking it is just fluff. We believe that by identifying your purpose, you help employees get in the right mindset. Ask Fuel First answers a question about workplace culture: How can I establish a workplace culture with purpose, so my employees are engaged and passionate about their work? 

Workplace culture sets the tone for the employee experience. It’s what you believe in as an organization —a mindset guided by what you value that will drive employee behavior. Culture is not an event or an activity. It’s not a pizza party or a gift card. Culture is a product of how you think and feel because that’s what truly influences behavior. 

The first part of establishing a thriving workplace culture is identifying what’s important to you and your employees. Think about what drives and motivates you. It’s going to be different for every organization. For some, it’s compassion. Others are driven by growth and success or may be motivated by innovation. Sometimes it’s as simple as just having fun.  

Can Fun be a Workplace Value? 

You might think fun isn’t an appropriate value, but it has worked for the fishmongers at Pike Place Market. One of the highlights of Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, is the fish throwing. There’s always a large crowd around the fish market because it is entertaining to watch the fishmongers yell out orders and toss fish between themselves and customers. It’s become so popular that people go there to celebrate special occasions, like a birthday or bachelor party. The fishmongers value fun. This value placement has influenced their behavior. When you see them, you can tell they’re having fun and it’s genuine. They smile, laugh and joke with each other and their customers. Their fun is contagious, which is why watching the fishmongers toss fish has been a fan favorite for over 30 years. By identifying fun as one of its core values, Pikes Place Fish Market has built an organization that customers will wait in line to engage with and has a waiting list for people who want to work there.  

What is Your Purpose? 

Values and purpose should be demonstrated. They’re not meant to be hung up on a wall somewhere or posted on your website and then forgotten. You and your staff should live by these values and deliberately work with your purpose in mind.  

For those of you who haven’t clearly defined your core values and purpose, Fuel Medical can help you identify them. If you know what they are, it’s time to dust them off and start thinking about intentionally implementing them in your organization. You probably already intuitively know your values and purpose—however, you might need the words to describe them. If you think about what’s important to you, a few words will come to mind. After identifying your core values and purpose, you’ll need to integrate them into the organization.   

How Can I Integrate my Values and Purpose into my Organization? 

To start this process, have staff connect their narrative to the practice. Have your employees talk about where they’ve seen your values or purpose demonstrated. This can be an informal team meeting or a more formal recognition program—you choose. The goal is to talk about your purpose, your values, how the work your employees do impacts the patient experience, and how these ideas impact other team members. The goal of your conversation is to start connecting the words on a sheet of paper with actions and behaviors that employees can demonstrate on the job. 

Fuel Medical’s Professional Development Team can help your team integrate your values into daily activities. We never tell members what to say because your values and purpose are as unique as your practice. We simply guide you through the process of establishing a workplace culture to highlight the strengths that you already possess and suggest ways that you can take action to bring your values and purpose to life. 

We usually ask questions like: 

  • Why do you think teamwork is one of our values? 
  • What about collaboration is important to you? 
  • What does integrity look like in your role? 
  • How have you seen compassion demonstrated? 

What Do You Get Out of This Process? 

You let everyone know what you stand for by identifying your values and purpose. Once you integrate those into the organization, your employees can rally behind the same mindset. This helps them to re-engage with the organization and their position within it. Employees who buy into the organization’s purpose are less likely to burn out. They will see the value of their work knowing that they’ve helped patients suffering from hearing loss take a step in the direction toward a life-altering treatment.  

If you want to put the ideas of this article into practice, identify three ways you can be intentional about connecting your staff to a common purpose or your organization’s core values. Then check out other Ask Fuel First articles and videos to learn about topics that relate to your practice.

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