In Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Wharton Professor Adam Grant examines the correlation between personal contribution and professional productivity within large organizations. In doing so, Grant examines an issue at the heart of the future of business: how to inspire employees to bring their best and full selves to work in ways that have a positive impact on the planet and our future.
For too long, the majority of huge corporations have overlooked their greatest untapped asset, the full potential of their employees. Many people who work inside large organizations are either unmotivated or dispassionate about working for the very company that takes up so much of their life. But when a company connects with an employee on an emotional level, they reap dramatic returns on productivity, satisfaction, and long-term support of the company itself.
One of the most powerful ways to unlock this potential is to provide employees with different ways to make a contribution within the company. Some choices include mentorship, blogging, or contributing to one of the company’s social impact programs. Simply by asking what they care about and how they would like to contribute, you can inspire otherwise demoralized employees to become engaged and active participants in the future well-being of the company.
With this in mind, here are six simple steps to unlocking greater potential in your employees:
1) Clearly articulate your company’s social purpose, and share that story internally.
2) Offer employees a choice of how to participate or contribute towards a cause they personally care about.
3) Incentivize employee participation by gamifying the employee experience and offering perks and rewards.
4) Demonstrate to employees the tangible positive impacts of their efforts.
5) Encourage employees to give feedback and contribute more ideas on how to bring the company’s mission to life.
6) Regularly update employees as to how their combined efforts have increased the well-being of the company, including its reputation in relationship to competitors.
By following these six steps, an organization can unlock the enormous untapped potential of its workforce and inspire employees to serve the social purpose of the company. In doing so, the company will mitigate the risk of reputation damage, and position the company for category leadership within the social business marketplace.
While the marketplace becomes ever more enamored with new technology, the companies that lead the future will be those that recognize their greatest asset is the people.
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Simon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.