Company pride can be a competitive advantage, helping to motivate and retain employees. Here's how to cultivate it.
One of the most overlooked drivers of engagement, retention and advocacy, hides in plain sight: pride.
When an individual reflects on how much they like their job, things like growth opportunities or colleagues might come to mind. But pride is different. It's not something that employees think about but rather something they feel.
It can be obvious when people take pride in their work, and even easier to see when they don't. Employees with pride go the extra mile for their clients, co-workers and leaders.
On the other hand, people with low work pride put little energy into their work and might not feel much guilt when a deadline or target is missed. The value of pride in the workplace is clear, but how do you cultivate it?
How do you instill pride in a team?
Successful pride-builders know how pride operates in the workplace and often do the following things.
1. Frequent casual chats with employees
Encourage managers to have quick, informal catchups with employees regularly. These sessions shouldn't be solely about giving feedback. It needs to be a two-way conversation. Be sure to ask employees about their short and long-term goals, and whether they feel particularly motivated by any of the current projects they're working on.
Finding out what work excites them will give you an idea of what projects fit their skills and which co-workers would be a good fit to work with. It's also an opportunity to see if any issues have been weighing on their minds.
There could be deeper issues with their dissatisfaction. They could feel disinterested in their work or skeptical of how they are managed. At a minimum, paying attention to these challenges can help your company reorganize and place talented employees where they can have the greatest impact.
Taking a genuine interest in your employees' concerns lets them know that they're valued and that your company cares enough to ensure they do fulfilling work.
2. Communicate your organization's goals
Your employees want to know that all those small tasks they work on daily are part of a larger vision of success or mission. Make sure your employees know your company's goals on a macro and micro level. Clear, detailed plans of how your company will get from A to B will give employees a roadmap for how their function drives the company forward.
Setting clear goals gives focus to the work that really matters. Letting employees in on the big picture might help them find room for streamlining inefficiencies that have gone unnoticed. That saves your organization time and money while giving them an accomplishment they can feel proud of.
3. Place the right people in leadership positions
It might sound obvious, but the cost of lifting the wrong person into leadership is exponential. Even though someone might be the highest performer in their position, or even exceptionally talented, that doesn't necessarily translate to a personality fit for leadership.
Leaders must strike a difficult balance between being encouraging and exacting, which requires high social sophistication and tact.
Be sure to draft leaders who can empower, inspire, and energize their teams.
4. Don't forget about recognition and rewards
Nothing makes a person swell with pride like knowing they're appreciated. Small gestures like a quick email, a handwritten note, or a shoutout at your weekly team meeting are enough to let employees know that you see them and respect their work.
These shouldn't feel forced or calculated–if an employee gets the sense that you're only mentioning them because "give recognition" is a checkbox on your to-do list, it won't feel as good as a freely-given compliment.
5. Reimagine community giving
Today's employees increasingly identify with a variety of social causes. Consider contributing to charities and organizations that advance these causes to show your employees that what matters to them matters to you, too.
You might want to examine how corporate compassion flows into the customs and processes you develop as a company. That could mean giving your employees reusable water bottles or working with diverse and inclusive vendors.
When organizations make a more conscious effort to be ethical, employees get the sense that not only are they contributing to your bottom line, but they're also helping your company generate revenue that is paid forward to worthy causes.
"When organizations make a more conscious effort to be ethical, employees feel that they are helping your company generate revenue that is paid forward to worthy causes."
We should all be trying to leave the world a better place than we found it. Showing employees that you're committed to that idea will give them a compelling reason to feel proud to work for your company.
6. Live your core values every day
Shared values help bring organizations together, and a tightly-knit, focused organization is much more likely to achieve its goals.
If you haven't already, adopt an official set of core values to tell people what your organization cares about most. In addition to accepting an attractive job offer, prospective employees will feel like they're signing on for a mission.
Develop an employee recognition program that rewards employees whose actions exemplify your core values. You'll turn a workforce into a team that sees every accomplishment as proof that it's on the right track.
7. Encourage social connections
Friends help you feel emotionally connected to the workplace. If you've ever struggled to make friends at an office, you can remember eating lunch alone at your desk and counting down the minutes until you can leave.
Employees that forge friendships within their team will feel like their achievements aren't only theirs but are part of a larger team effort. And pride in the team is one of the three levels of company pride.
8. Find out what makes your most motivated employees proud
Your highest-performing employees are in the best position to tell you what makes them feel excited to come to work.
Ask those employees–the ones who exemplify what you're looking for in future employees and inspire the rest to reach higher–what they'd like to see in their ideal company. Encourage them to be honest and forthright. The sky's the limit. Once you've learned what they're looking for, do it.
Adopting a focus on fostering pride will inspire your employees to contribute to your corporate mission, clearly illustrate how their work supports that mission, and embody your company's core values.
Boost pride with company culture awards
Just as individual recognition sparks individual pride, corporate recognition as a Certified™ great place to work reinforces company pride. Learn more about how to get your company recognized as a great place to work.