Purpose + Trust = Engagement

It’s a simple but profound formula. At Red Purse Marketing, it’s a concept we promote when working with clients who have come to us for help with their internal communications needs.

We know that higher levels of employee engagement lead to increased rates of employee retention and better company performance. Using the PURPOSE + TRUST formula is a powerful way to increase employee engagement.

Employees are motivated when they know their organization has a purpose – that it expertly delivers a product or service that is relevant and meaningful for their customers or clients, or for their community. They are excited by knowing that they are improving lives in ways large or small. A staff accountant in a CPA firm can gain great satisfaction when she delivers a client’s tax returns expertly, timely, and in a friendly and helpful way, knowing that she is relieving a burden for the taxpayer. A hospice nurse can gain great satisfaction when she comforts grieving relatives of a critically ill patient.

To truly build employee engagement, however, purpose must be accompanied by employee trust in the company and its leaders. We know that effective communication is key to building trust. Trust is built when leaders in an organization sincerely communicate the importance of the products and services the company provides – its purpose. But an organization’s purpose cannot be an empty promise. Leaders need to be able to articulate how the company faithfully delivers its promises. Trust is further built when leaders engage in two-way communication and listen to their employees so that, together, they can design support mechanisms and systems that allow employees to perform their meaningful work as easily and effectively as possible.

Years ago, we attended a seminar where a healthcare executive, Bob Zasa, posed a question to the group. “What do employees want from the company they work for?” His answer? “They want to know they’re working for a winner.”

Communicating and delivering on a meaningful company purpose, while supporting employees in a trustworthy fashion so that they can find purpose in their own work – it’s a winning formula.




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