Do you ever wonder why humans work in the first place? Yes, we all need a certain amount of money to do things, but that’s not at the core of why we get up in the morning to offer our best efforts most days. And it’s not because of perks either. In their book, The Why of Work, Wendy and Dave Ulrich state that people find meaning when they see a clear connection between what they highly value and what they spend time doing.
So it turns out we really aren’t that complicated. We’re all hard-wired to desire meaningful, purpose-driven work. Leaders – this is why we need to get ridiculously simple in order to become more effective with our people strategies. And the 4 Principles of Connection model I helped create gets to the core reasons for why people want to work and offer their best.
The 4 Principles of Connection™️ model focuses on healthy connections to self, others, role, and the organization. And there’s a core rhythm of employee and leadership experiences which help strengthen these connections leading to #fulfillment, #meaning, and #purpose from the work people do.
Let’s briefly go through each principle and some example experiences for each:
Principle #1 – Connecting to Self:
- People want to work for organizations that help them develop as a whole person – not just in the rote skills of their job
- Dream Manager programs
- 20% Autonomous time
- Pursuing and achieving goals
- Wellness programs
- Encourage personal branding
Principle #2 – Connecting to Others:
- People want to work where they’re accepted for their authentic selves and where they experience a level of connection with the leadership and their team that creates strong bonds
- Mentor programs
- Onboarding experiences
- Frequent, meaningful recognition and appreciation
- Essential Skills Coaching (Empathy, Humility, Emotional Intelligence)
Principle #3 – Connecting to Role:
- People want to work where there’s clarity around their role and importance in the ecosystem and that their contributions matter
- Stay Interviews
- Advancement Paths
- Opportunities for Professional Development
- Role mapping including target behaviors and alignment plans
- Special projects
Principle #4 – Connecting to the Organization:
- People want to work where they know the greater whole, of which they’re a part, is doing important work in the world – especially their own communities
- North Star/Core Identity
- Service projects
- Employee Stock Ownership Programs
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion experiences
And here’s the beautiful part of the 4 Principles of Connection. It isn’t just the right thing to do for your people – it’s the smart thing to do for your organization. In doing so you’re moving the levers which drive employee engagement, hone your culture, and strengthen your employer brand.
Bear in mind, the most important customers are your internal ones…your employees. It all starts with them. They decide every day whether they’re bought into the organization and what it stands for and the work that is accomplished.
So leaders – let’s make things ridiculously simple and focus on the levers that matter – the 4 Principles of Connection. When you get it right for your people, they get it right for the organization and the external customers.
Let’s go forth and nurture these healthy connections in your organizations!