As the work-from-home situation continues – and becomes permanent for many – companies need to pay attention to employee engagement differently than in the past.
Recalling Dan Pink’s “Drive” – people come to work for autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Purpose is missing right now.
With the benefit of physical proximity and in-person community, the higher-level messages about what the company stands for are at the very least evident in the form of wall posters and conference trinkets. In really good companies the purpose is embedded into much of the work day in casual conversations, messages from executive level leadership, how decisions get made and what is celebrated.
In the current – and likely future – video-conferenced-based work style, the typical day is all transaction and no inspiration. Time spent working is increasing – along with feelings of isolation. Real human and higher-level connection in all forms has almost evaporated.
Some companies are starting to catch on, thankfully. Lately I’m hearing stories of innovative ways to bring people together virtually – scavenger hunts, gift boxes, t-shirts, celebrations of people rather than metrics – and these are evidence of progress. But they aren’t happening often enough nor broadly enough, and purpose is still largely missing – and that’s going to take a toll on how people feel about where they work.
The first several months of work-from-home and virtual organizations has been largely about adjustment and survival. As this new way of working continues we must accept it and become creative about reminding people of the reasons they choose to work in an organization beyond the paycheque.
Connect your people to purpose if you want to keep them.