We often hear staff in Corporates say, “It’s not personal; it’s business.” But is this really true? While many people out there claim that work is simply business, in actual fact, it’s highly personal. The way we feel about the work we do and the company we work in, actually has an enormous effect on our emotional well-being, our creativity and the meaning we make of ourselves in the world. When we feel connected to our work, our engagement increases along with inspiration, dedication and commitment. In fact, the higher the emotional connection, the better the success of the task at hand.

This makes it so important for organisations to engage with their employees and collaborate on personal goals and hopeful outcomes. This empowers staff to invest in a personal part of themselves alongside the work they are already doing for the business. All of which will make the team more engaged and the business more productive. So aside from financial reward, what are the three key areas that staff want to get out of the work they do?

1. Purpose

Purpose refers to the personal “why” – “Why am I doing this and why am I here?” The sweet spot is when the why of the company aligns with the individual’s why. One way to achieve this is by connecting with your staff and coming together around a worthy cause. Help them feel valued and supported in bringing their personal why’s to fruition. This can be achieved by finding clever ways to align the company’s goals with their personal career goals. For example, if they reach their company targets, reward them with perks or promotions that are on their personal wish lists. When everyone is on the same page, productivity goes up and success is more attainable.

2. Strong company relationships

Relationships are so important when it comes to communication and productivity. When people are on the same page, things go so much smoother. This also results in less interpersonal conflict, which is why as a leader, it’s so important to listen carefully to what your staff need, rather than dictating what the company requires of them. This kind of cooperation can go a really long way in building rapport. It is also really important that these efforts feel genuine. People instinctively know when relationships are treated as HR checklists. Rather, find real ways to foster connectivity in the workplace by taking a genuine interest in what makes your team tick.

3. A meaningful vision of the future

It stands to reason that people want to envision a future that holds a meaningful place for them. Any staff member, whether their role is large or small, wants to feel like they are contributing to the company’s bigger picture as well as to their own. It is vital to communicate the company’s vision to your team – clarify what you’re all working towards (not in terms of numbers) but rather in terms of how your product makes the world a better place by fulfilling an important need out there in the world. Next, encourage your staff to find ways to connect to this bigger picture and validate it. Conversations like these can make all the difference and should happen sooner rather than later. In fact, this is why it’s really important to vet all new recruits on what their visions are. This allows you to understand if you are on the same page from the start. In fact, businesses can’t retain staff when visions are misaligned.

The bottom line

Work is so much more than a means to an end. Regardless of the position, when someone feels like they are contributing to a bigger picture and experiences themselves as being connected to a meaningful purpose, productivity really soars. This is a win-win for both the company and the employee. This is why it is so important for leaders in business to really engage with their staff on a personal level in order to understand how to work together for the greater good – both personally and professionally. Where ever possible, align their plans with the company’s bigger picture. This kind of interpersonal interest fosters strong relationships and loyalty, further integrating company policy with the people who work there. When done right, and when ‘business’ interfaces with ‘personal’ in a meaningful way, performance improves, and everybody wins.

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