"It used to be like a family around here." Whenever I do organizational research, I can count on employees to ask me to send that message to their leaders. The words seem so candid, I never realized there was anything else lurking there than the obvious message. Until I ran into the article that I want to share with you today.
Factory Workers Don't Care About Their Company's Mission is a provocative title and so are the Gallup research findings that are being reported. Gallup's researchers have found that, ". . . only slightly more than one-third of U.S. workers strongly agree that their company's mission or purpose makes them feel their job is important. In manufacturing settings, it's an even greater struggle."
We could talk about this all day, but it's actually the author's other key point that shook me up " . . . most leaders think big, while most workers feel local." Simple words, but just stand still for a moment and feel how true they are. What and who do our employees care the most about (without any prodding from management) -- and how often do we look at things that way in HR? Just about never.
Yes, it especially true in manufacturing environments, but it applies in many other company cultures, too. Here's how the author put it:
"Essentially the mission that mattered the most to them was their ability to continue to exist and have good-paying jobs -- and to apply what they do to create great things for their community."
Factory workers often feel a very strong link to the town they are working in. But other workers often have a sense of community, too, within a huge organization, and we rarely try to understand what they mean by this or talk with them about it.
It got me thinking, for example, that managers and employees would have an easier time understanding the reason for objective-setting if they could link it to doing great things for their community -- whether it's their department, division or whatever "local" entity they really care about. Understanding and keying into this emotional dimension would create a level of interest and commitment we don't often see, I bet.
It's not that employees shouldn't care, couldn't care or could care less about the company's mission, it's just that they care about their "community" in a more immediate and emotional way. Why not take a look around you to see if this is worth thinking about in your neck of the woods?
Our work is an 8 step problem solving process. Learn how to make it an annual opportunity to improve your career prospects in our popular eBook, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communication. Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP collaborated with Ann Bares and Dan Walter to bring the book into the world. You can download it at www.everythingiscommunication.com. Margaret is founder and Principal of re:Think Consulting. She brings deep expertise in compensation, career development and communications to the dialog at the Café. Before founding re:Think Consulting, Margaret was a Principal with Towers Watson.