Fostering pride creates success

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At the foundation of all truly successful organizations are talented, skilled employees who feel valued and empowered to excel in their roles. Employees who exude pride in their profession, organization and industry of choice create the only source of real differentiation for virtually every organization.

It’s all about the people and the incredible feeling a customer realizes after experiencing exceptional service. It’s that service that keeps a customer coming back-service based on pride, not monetary motivation of employees. Take, for example, the premise behind Jon Katzenbach’s “Why PRIDE Matters More Than Money.” Pride creates fulfillment and satisfaction in knowing you make a difference-something no amount of money can provide.

While money may attract and retain good people, it is rarely at the heart of what motivates employees to excel. And, in most cases, money works as a recruitment, retention and motivation tool only as long as you can pay more than the competition. Not surprisingly those who stay for monetary gains alone are usually the first to leave an organization or occupation when economic returns start to falter.

Since the local economic environment and any corresponding constraints always play a variable in business, it’s wise to build recruitment and retention strategies around creating the best team, not “buying” your employees. That means providing a supportive culture and work environment, offering competitive wages and benefits, and fostering pride throughout your organization. It’s as much about the intangibles as the green in an employee’s pocketbook.

By instilling pride, every manager is tapping into a powerful lever that can create an organization capable of long-term sustainable growth. It starts with each employee feeling valued and understanding his or her role in an organization. From there, pride becomes a natural byproduct of the work each member of the team is responsible for, creating successes that reinforce that pride.

Pride becomes an emotional high that follows strong performance and team success. It shows us that we are actually capable of much more than we ever thought possible.

The business case for instilling pride in the workplace is compelling. Pride is the part of the equation that results in increased employee and customer satisfaction and ultimately more money. This translates into economic gain for any organization in the form of brand recognition and reputation, enhanced service attributes and increased customer satisfaction. So how do we instill pride in the workplace?

According to Gary Cowger, president of GM North America, “You can mandate mediocrity but you need to inspire excellence.”

It starts with those at the top and includes eight core components.

1. Be passionate about the kind of work you do.

2. Help your employees understand the value your organization brings to the marketplace, to the lives of your customers.

3. Provide clear direction, vision and focus by clarifying exactly what matters most and why.

4. Enable and empower your employees to do their best by providing the right tools, streamlining processes and creating a sense of ownership.

5. Capitalize on your company’s history of past accomplishments. Celebrate your successes. Reward and recognize.

6. Be a facilitator of memories by developing and respecting your most compelling stories.

7. Care about your employees! Involve them in workplace decisions and recognize their individual contributions. Make them feel valued for the work they do everyday. Provide highly visible recognition events or celebration when the organization excels.

8. Keep employees informed and communicate, communicate, communicate.

In the face of an increasing shortage in health care professionals, the health care industry sets an example of the important role and difference pride can play in retaining highly demanded professional staff. For health care employees, feeling valued and taking pride in their work translates into promoting the highest possible quality of care and a safe environment for patients. What a tremendous return on investment for an organization like Memorial Hospital. An invaluable return for our community. A return that is not altered by external economic forces or political factors.

The possibilities are virtually limitless with pride at the helm. Wall Street would love it!

Cherie Gorby is chief operating officer at Memorial Hospital.