A 'Purpose' To Engage Employees

A 'Purpose' To Engage Employees

“It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something.” — Winston S. Churchill


Corporate Social Responsibility as a buzzword has been around for some time now. And it is important for organisations to find creative ways to help employees find their true calling.


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to think how precious yet unpredictable life can be. While we adjusted and tried to make the best of the unwanted and unexpected scenario we were thrown into, a majority of us realised that there is more to life than a 5- day workweek and 2-day weekend lifecycle.


While decent compensation, employee benefits and a good work environment help in keeping oneself engaged and motivated, it is not enough. Having a true ‘Purpose’ or ‘calling’ in life acts as a much bigger motivator than any extrinsic element can provide. As HR fraternity, our focus should be on finding unique ways of helping employees discover their purpose in life. Employees with a purpose are intrinsically motivated, less prone to burnout or fatigue, and in general, more productive.


Actively involving employees in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives can be a great starting point towards helping them get a “Purpose”. Here is how we can contribute as HR.


Ask Employees: Before the organisation gets involved in any CSR initiative, it is imperative to take the employees’ opinion on the areas they would like to contribute - is it environment, social work or community service? Rather than pushing them to put in their time and effort in initiatives that do not resonate with them at a personal level, it is wise to give them more than one area where they can contribute to. It may also be a good idea to crowd source the institution/ cause that the entire organisation can support as a whole.


Involve the Ecosystem: Organisations should focus on making the initiatives inviting and open to all. It may be a good idea to encourage employees to involve their families, including extended family members and friends who may not be a part of the organisation. The focus should be on the initiative becoming a group activity involving as many people as possible who want to help. This not only gives a sense of belonging to a community, but also acts as a great way of employer branding without trying too hard to get noticed.


Make it a culture: While helping the community can provide a self of purpose to the employees, it is essential to ensure that it is not just a one-time activity. Organisations need to inculcate this as part of their culture, which means aligning it with the business objectives and encouraging everyone from the CEO to the most junior most employees in the organisation to actively contribute in whatever way they can. When employees see the leadership getting involved, they get especially encouraged to participate. One positive action inspires another and the chain goes on.


Recognise Efforts: CSR initiatives can become a great source of encouraging a spirit of healthy competition among teams. Recognising employees who go above and beyond to contribute towards the greater good will encourage more employees to participate. However, it is also important to ensure that this does not become a number game. The minute it becomes a number game, the focus shifts from quality to quantity and the organisation may end up focusing more on how well the initiative can be publicised in the process losing focus on making the world a better place for all.


CSR as a buzzword has been around for quite some time now. And it is important for organisations to find creative ways to link that to helping employees in finding their true calling. Employees who work with a purpose in mind are much more passionate in everything they do, they know what their objectives and goals are, automatically making them more aware and engaged than the others.


Parul Bahl is a Human resource professional with over 8 years of experience in Talent engagement, acquisition and development. Currently with DLF, she has also worked with TCS in the past. Parul's interests include researching and writing on HR topics, in order to give readers food for thought.


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