A director of a major bank recently told me that he is currently struggling to defend his company against the critical remarks of clients, neighbours and friends. Besides the known problems, this is another threat to the sector. Employees lose their connections with the company and have trouble to emotionally identify themselves with the organization.
We can easily expand this issue to all organisations and sectors. To what extent are our employees proud of the company they work for? To what extent will they recommend others to get a job there? To what extent do they agree with the vision and direction of the organization?
Employees who are not enthusiastic and proud of the company they work for will not be very high-performing and will not strive for maximum customer satisfaction. One of the causes of insufficient pride is the finding that the company does not work and act professionally enough. In a next phase, people also think that they are no longer working professionally themselves. This low self-esteem completes the circle.
It is therefore important to create a culture where professionalism is key and where everyone has a warm heart for the organization.
Research shows that only 17% of employees believe that their leaders envisage the importance of the organization. Only few people are still convinced that companies are choosing the right course and there is a lot of cynicism about current affairs. According to author Bill Wiersma (The Seven Mind-Sets That Drive Performance and Build Trust), the solution is more focus on “professionalism” in the organizational culture.
Professional ideals immediately correlate with success, both for individuals and for organizations. Why? Because a culture based on professionalism leads to trust. Trust is the emotional adhesive that supports your priorities, protects your self-interest and ensures respect for your values.
Three elements are needed to build trust: character, competence and insight. And trust is the key to an attractive culture with extraordinary results.
The 7 mindsets of trustworthy professionals.
Professionals have a feeling for results.
Achieving sustainable results is, as a matter of fact, proof of reliability.
A professional puts the interests of the organization (or client) before the self-interests. Their commitment is strong and people can count on their unconditional dedication. Moreover, they are outstanding team players.
Personal growth and development are essential for professionals and often the result of their dedication and efforts.
Professionals usually have high standards and these are an integral part of their character.
Professionals with this mindset:
- Have a personal set of values
- Do the right business with a long-term vision
- Are above ‘fights’ and are focused.
Professionals are aware that personal integrity is invaluable.
In practice, this means authenticity and honesty, delivery on promises and refusing to break the trust of others.
Professionals strive to master their emotions instead of becoming a slave to them.
Showing respect in very difficult situations, staying objective and controlling the ego are crucial in gaining respect.
Passion for your work, your values, your ideas and your employees are beautiful emotions.
Professionals strive to recognize the value of others and see no problem in the development and success of others. Since they are feeling good in their skin, the success of others is no threat to them.
Read more in the summary of the book.
The Power of Professionalism
In a study, dr. Bruce Katcher from Discovery Surveys give another 4 tips to improve the pride of employees.
- Communicate the organization’s past. Employees want to be part of a tradition that can exceed the daily working day. People proudly tell stories about the pioneering time of the founders (“started out in a garage”) or how they managed to overcome setbacks (“we only had 10 customers left”). A moving company video with a captivating story or a book about the organisation with its history and gripping pictures may help people identifying themselves with the organization.
- Celebrate success. People are proud to be part of a winning team. Seize all opportunities to communicate success to all employees. Also use your own newsletter, but also make sure you get coverage in different media.
- Give back to the community and society. Employees are proud of an organization that makes a difference. Support organizations financially, or even better, motivate employees to contribute to specific projects that support the local community during working hours.
- Highlight your added value. Make it clear to your employees what exactly is the organization’s added value. What are the strengths? What are we good at? What are remarkable achievements that are highly appreciated by customers?