Best employers secret #1: A compelling organisational direction

Nik Penhale Smith

As a follow up to our article, the 7 secrets of the best employers, we discuss the first secret of the best employers: A compelling organisational direction.

Best employers secret #1: A compelling organisational direction

What is organisational direction?

Organisational direction is often misunderstood. Most commonly, organisational direction is equated to the same thing as organisational goals. It is important to be clear that the two are not the same: organisational goals are a fixed point on the horizon (i.e. number of new clients, profits, employee numbers etc.) whereas organisational direction is the way which your organisation is going.

When creating or evaluating your organisation’s direction, it is important to think about what your organisation’s role is in society. What do you stand for? What do you want to accomplish with your organisation?

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A practical example

One of the best practical examples that we have ever seen was from partnering with an organisation that installed boilers and heating equipment. The organisation originally aimed to provide a service for home comfort, and to provide general maintenance. Whilst the service was necessary, employees weren’t compelled by it.

A few years ago, inspiration struck from the Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth. After watching the film with all their technicians, the organisation decided that they were going to help their customers reduce their environmental impact. They changed all their service maintenance for boilers and heating systems in order to provide affordable, energy-efficient and sustainable solutions.

Although seemingly minor changes, there was a major impact on the organisation, its employees and the commercial success. The technicians changed their services to provide a small scale, neighbourhood approach and educated clients on energy use and potential savings. Each time that technicians were somewhere repairing an old system (with low efficiency and high heating bills) they enthusiastically suggested alternative, affordable and more energy efficient solutions.

The result?

Staggering. Their employee survey showed that as many as 94% of the organisations employees are now engaged/and or committed. The technicians were themselves ignited by a new sense of purpose, whilst the commercial profits tripled.

When organisations make their role in society clear, it inspires employees. A compelling direction is what drives employees to be great in their field, makes employees proud to be part of the organisation and ultimately, creates the basis for extensive engagement and commitment.

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