When growing businesses come up against engagement-related problems, like lower productivity, inability to attract or keep top talent, poor customer service, and a low-energy, uninspired atmosphere, the first questions are “What is going on here? What am I doing wrong?”

These are good questions to ask, but there is a larger question that, once answered, will deliver better lasting results.

As Stefan Wissenbach, Founder and CEO of Engagement Multiplier says,

“When you create a big enough ‘why’ for people, they will become emotionally involved in finding a ‘how.’”

This is the point of what Wissenbach’s company calls an “Engaged Purpose.”

Why are you, and your employees, doing what you’re doing? What is the larger purpose you’re serving together?

The answer has nothing to do with numbers or revenue. It has to do with people. Because people, above all else, need something to believe in.

“What is most important is that candidates come away with a sense of why a company exists, what its reputation is, and how it is positioned to capture more customers. Any company can say it has been around for ‘x’ number of years, but employees need to hear a story that resonates with them — one that is unique, genuine and compelling.” – Gallup 2017 State of the American Workplace report, p.28

In a recent survey, Gallup found that 98 percent of U.S. employees have a deep-seated need to perceive their work to be meaningful. Gallup also found that companies that achieve a purpose-driven culture, effectively tying meaning to work, reap the rewards with higher profitability, greater customer loyalty, and as much as a 30 percent decrease in turnover.

A study conducted by Harvard’s Dr. Teresa Amabile found an interesting byproduct associated with purpose as well – people who viewed their work as meaningful also experienced feelings of joy and excitement (aka. happiness). And, in multiple studies, happiness at work has been linked to increased productivity.

What is an Engaged Purpose?

An Engaged Purpose is designed to make the connection between work and impact clear to everyone in the company. It’s a written statement that connects services and impact with a larger vision for the future, in order to act as an engine of inspiration and as a compass for the company at large, and for individual employees.

But don’t confuse it with a mission statement (as many do). Whereas a mission statement is written primarily by management for shareholders or clients, the Engaged Purpose statement is for employees’ eyes only and created with their input.

The Engaged Purpose statement includes:

  • What you do – the services you offer
  • Why you do it – what positive impact do you have on others?
  • How you do it – by what methods are you helping clients create positive transformations in their lives?
  • Big Goal – your vision for the future of your company that is both realistically possible and inspirational

Strung together, the statement reads something like this:

“We [what you do], because [why you do it]. We do this by [How you do it]. Our ultimate goal is to [Big, ambitious goal].”

The Purpose statement is not just a document of your organization’s reason for being, it is a tool to help guide decisions and keep everyone aligned behind common goals, so no matter what they’re doing, they’re all moving in the same direction with the same vision.

The Impact of Purpose Driven Dentistry

“4 in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that the mission or purpose of their company makes them feel their job is important. By moving that ratio to eight in 10 employees, organizations could realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism, a 50% drop in patient safety incidents and a 33% improvement in quality.” – Gallup 2017 State of the American Workplace report, p.114

Not only does having a defined purpose improve efficiency and safety, but the effect also trickles down to patients. Nowhere is engagement more apparent to patients than in the waiting room of a dentist’s office. The engagement and energy of front-desk staff and hygienists directly impact how clients feel about their experiences, which resonates through reviews and referrals.

Of course, drafting an Engaged Purpose statement is only the starting point. To use it as a foundation for a purpose-driven culture requires making it part of daily life. Lead by example and make your purpose a compass for decisions large and small, and empower your staff to do the same. And, to ensure the sense of purpose doesn’t get lost over time, consider adopting an employee engagement program with regular surveys to keep everyone on track.

When Endodontist Younes Safa, DDS, introduced the Engagement Multiplier program in his office, he immediately saw the results:

“My staff is happy and delighted to be in the office. That reflects in their attitude. My office has a very high tone level… they’re always laughing, smiling. When patients are sitting in the waiting room, they notice these things. That also reflects how they treat the patients. If they’re happy with their job, if we’re scoring high, that means they’re going to take care of the patients very well too.”