Finding Inspiration at the 2012 Conference

Finding Inspiration at the 2012 Conference

Giving your Employees a sense of purpose

Any good leader knows that a motivated team is the key to success. But the question remains, how to successfully motivate employees? Listening to CEOs at the 2012 Great Place To Work® Conference, the answer would appear to be: give them a sense of purpose.

John Mackey John Mackey, Co-Founder of Whole Foods Market jumpstarted the 2012 Conference with a powerful speech on the importance of purpose in the workplace. Companies that strive for profits without also having a higher purpose will inevitably lose talent and alienate customers. Conversely, those committed to a company vision are energized and motivated to go above and beyond the call of duty, usually realizing greater gains in the process. Whole Foods Market is an excellent example of this school of thought; pledging to radically improve the health of people in the United States and other countries has only led to more store openings and a better bottom line.

It is not only Fortune 500 companies that can afford such ambitious undertakings. Bridgeway Capital Management, a 2011 Best Small and Medium Workplace, complemented John Mackey’s keynote with a breakout session titled Building a Culture of Generosity. Mike Mulcahy, President and COO of the investment firm began the session with an interesting story of his own. After graduating from Harvard Business School, Mike worked for three consecutive companies that each had a member of upper management charged with insider trading. He subsequently resigned from these companies, and has been with Bridgeway Capital Management ever since.

What makes Bridgeway unique and able to retain their talent is their mission statement; the company is dedicated to eliminating genocide worldwide. The CEO of the company, Pat O’Donnell, is passionate about human rights and donates 50% of all profits to peace, reconciliation, and ending genocide. The company also encourages employees to pursue their own passion by offering paid time off to volunteer for a cause of their choice. Each team member at Bridgeway knows that they are working to change the world. And when the company needs employees to work overtime, employees respond with equal generosity.

Incidentally, this values-driven company maintains a performance record in the top 5% of their peers.

For companies seeking to refine their own purpose, Novozymes provided an excellent How To in the breakout session titled Refreshing your Company Vision: How Novozymes Re-Engaged Employees around the Company Vision. Employees were asked to contribute to the company’s new mission statement,. What better way to align associates with the company vision than to have them draft it? Novozymes continues to engage employees through training and development to make sure each associate is a strong ambassador of the company vision. By continuously measuring the impact Novozymes is having on the world, they continue to inspire their team and grow as a company.

Does your company’s mission motivate you?  If you are a manager, how do you connect every person’s role to the company’s larger purpose?

Tiffany Barber is the Associate Manager of Marketing and Communications and guest blogger for Great Place To Work®.