If you’ve returned from your holiday break and noticed a lethargic office atmosphere, low levels of engagement and general lull, you’re not alone! Return to work periods often coincide with steady increases in sick days, poor employee engagement and generally lower motivation levels to achieve the purpose of the business.
So what is behind this mass disengagement and what can you do to prevent and combat this worrying trend? The answer has to do with purpose and how we can motivate our people to thrive at work.
1. Developing a clear purpose statement
Is your business’s purpose clearly articulated and communicated to your people? Crafting a mission, vision and purpose statement that resonate with your people and motivate them to do their best is not always easy. It takes time, research, resources, consultation, reflection and tinkering.
Once it is crafted, the real task begins in ensuring it is absorbed by your people and is able to guide them as a daily reminder of why they are there. This is the inherent value of the purpose statement – it is like a compass, that can immediately explain your business’s “why.”
Your business’s “why” is its raison d’etre (reason for existence). It is the reason why the business was established and the change or impact that it wishes to make in the world. Once you have clearly distilled your ‘why’ in a purpose statement it becomes infinitely easier to communicate this to your people, clients, customers and other stakeholders.
2. Creating time and space to discuss purpose
As humans beings, we are guided by our emotions at work far more than we are aware of and would like to admit. The more connected or aligned our personal purpose is with the business’s purpose, the more likely we are to be motivated, resourceful and dedicated to our work.
However, the more removed daily and weekly tasks are from the business’s purpose, the harder is to produce consistent effort and stay engaged, we simply lose track of why we are doing our job in the first place. There are several ways to foster this connection.
One approach is to bring people together for a monthly purpose forum, where teams can come together hear from an inspirational guest speaker and then have some facilitated discussions around recent actions of team members that contributed to and resonated with the business’s purpose.
3. Implementing health and wellbeing initiatives
A failure to prioritise the health and wellbeing of your team can be a major contributor to poor culture, high levels of sick leave and low levels of engagement. No business sets out to neglect focussing on the health and wellbeing of its team, but far too often it is one of the last things to be considered.
There are ways to focus on this vital need without needing to implement a wholesale wellbeing program. Possibilities include setting regular team lunches, joining a corporate sports league or program, introducing a volunteering and workplace giving program, introducing walking meetings or inviting in a mindful meditation facilitator once a week.
As with all of the above elements, it is the message that it is communicated to your team that is key – that they come first and that their health and wellbeing is essential to the businesses success.