The recent news that Park Chu-Young who plays for Arsenal is dropped from the South Korean team for the upcoming World Cup qualification matches sparked debate about personal commitment and pride in the country and team. With the player delaying compulsory national military training the team’s manager took a firm stand on axing Park. What struck me were the phrases of ‘pride in the team’ and ‘atmosphere of the whole team’ that the manager spoke of while reiterating his decision.
Here is a player of repute that the country was willing to lose even if meant that they reduce their chances of qualification. I was impressed by the strong message this decision made – that the belief of putting the team before the individual is what really matters.
So what does pride at the workplace mean to employees and how does an organization put it to practice?
Pride in work gives employees a sense of purpose and meaning. It is also expected to motivate and energize. According to a study by the Hay Group, one of the best ways to instill pride in a workforce is to set high standards and challenge people to meet them.
Also the ability to create a positive organizational climate has been found to be the single greatest internal factor that drives employee performance. And leaders have a strong role to play in the process.
While the pride of associating with a well-known organization is motivating enough what improves connection and identity even more is the feeling of being recognized for work well done – whatever the work.
Other ways to instill pride are to create a sense of ownership and as Dan Ariely refers to it in his book Predictably Irrational – the Ikea Effect takes over. Once we engage intently with an object or concept or what-have-you, we become attached – like we ‘own’ it. What if organization’s allowed employees to bid for work that they wanted them to own and contribute it ways that made their effort ‘sticky’?
The results of building pride in the workplace are evident. Even during a recession staffers who believed were contributing to an organization’s success, were valued and recognized for their work demonstrated higher levels of engagement. Results from a recent UK based study reflect how austerity measures weren’t dampening pride among staff.
Closer home, the Indian workforce is as passionate about national pride as they are about working for organizations which are technology savvy. I am aware of firms that often conduct events which allow staff to decorate their workplace based on festivals, religious themes or even their client’s brand. Opportunities to recognize peers and offering avenues to share success stories are other ways to encourage ownership.
I came across some other cool ideas which allowed teams to ‘expo’ their work as well as swap assignments so as to appreciate and feel proud of what others in the organization do. Lastly, by hiring people who are passionate about work and demonstrate attributes that build pride you can begin on the right note.
What other suggestions do you have in building pride at the workplace? Share them here.