With continuous change on the horizon and almost every industry rethinking the modern workplace, many companies are investing more than ever in solutions that help cultivate a deep sense of purpose among employees and encourage genuine investment in the company’s future.
There are few things as powerful as a highly motivated team, oriented around a common goal. From sports teams to technology companies, these groups and the cultures they create are the stuff of business case studies and bestsellers the world over. Whether making the world’s best personal computer or organizing the world’s information – high-performance organizations share a common trait – their teams are purpose-driven.
It makes business sense. Your company exists for a reason, a purpose. The only way to achieve your purpose is to have your teams be aware of it and emotionally, personally own it. We also know that employees with a clear understanding of their purpose are more motivated. A compelling purpose is central to a motivated team, and motivated teams are central to achieving an organization’s purpose.
The downside? It’s hard. Orienting a company’s culture around a purpose and set of values requires continuous investment in communications, corporate initiatives, and the constant alignment of teams. It is even more challenging in large organizations with diverse workforces, often dispersed around the world. Employees in these organizations can often feel isolated, disconnected from the impact and outcomes of their work. It is imperative to these organizations’ success that they help to foster a sense of belonging and community in their workforce, instilling pride, community, and purpose for each team member.
With continuous change on the horizon, and almost every industry rethinking the modern workplace, many companies are investing, now more than ever, in solutions that help to cultivate a deep sense of purpose among employees and encourage genuine investment in the company’s future.
Why are we here?
Theorem was recently approached to help solve precisely this problem. How could we use technology to help employees better answer the question we’ve all asked ourselves, “why are we here?”
Theorem’s mission: Design a product that enables an organization to create and maintain a purpose-driven culture oriented around corporate values.
The team focused the solution around two opportunities, 1) to help employees feel a sense of emotional ownership around the organization’s purpose and values; and 2) to foster a sense of community among the global team.
We designed a solution that leverages technology and storytelling to provide employees worldwide with a platform to create, socialize, engage with, and actively shape the company culture. Using employee-generated content, the platform provides an authentic glimpse into the lived experiences of team members from around the world – fostering both a sense of community and emotional ownership of the corporate values and vision.
Creating emotional ownership
Storytelling is a powerful way to build this type of engagement. The platform is a place for employees to share stories of their every day challenges and triumphs, in ways that demonstrate impact on the organizational mission. Various formats can be used to tell these stories:
- A series of short video episodes featuring employee experiences
- Mini-documentaries of employees in their working environments — in the lab, the manufacturing plant, or the board room.
- Homemade “day in the life” videos showcasing an employee’s world in a natural, positive, and forward-looking style.
We’ve all seen enough bland corporate videos to know that no one wants to listen to a generic, talking head. Injecting personality into your content creates emotional ownership for employees. Your stories need to reflect back on employees’ own experiences and values for your culture to stick.
Often corporate archived content gets ignored because employees do not feel personally connected, which prevents them from assuming ownership over the message. Giving employees a tool to tell their own stories and a platform to share these stories reflects on employees’ own experiences and values. In an authentic and engaging way, these stories demonstrate the impact that each employee has on the business and, ultimately, the business’s impact on the end-user. These employee stories help instill a sense of ownership that leads to increased accountability of the corporate goals, alignment on purpose, and ownership of the culture.
Building a community
Technology and content are essential building blocks, but the platform must also build connections between colleagues and foster community cohesion. The platform provides teams with tools to share their own stories of success, explore and participate in a global conversation, offer their unique perspectives, and make new connections with colleagues.
This bottom-up approach to corporate communication enables all employees to tell their stories and participate in the conversation, helping to frame the corporate values from the vantage point of every employee. Developing this kind of interactive community for employees helps bring the organization’s purpose and values to life, increasing empathy between colleagues and better unites teams around a core purpose.
The only way to achieve your purpose is to have employees believe it and feel a sense of ownership in impacting it. There is so much potential for using technology in ways that empowers employees, fosters community, and shares authentic experiences that help to demonstrate the impact each individual has.
When people need to be trusted to make autonomous decisions from the frontlines, in complex environments, with a narrow margin of error, we believe the right culture is the tipping factor between success and failure. We partner with our clients to build durable and practical systems that transform the way their organization thinks about and solves critical problems.
Whether leveling up your systems or rethinking your business from the ground up, the most successful transformations rely on a commitment to transparency, alignment, and speed. Theorem can help you simplify the process with the right technology, strategy, and design to give you an edge.