Ahmed is a 30 year old assistant in the cleaning services section of a large hospital and takes great pride in his work. Although he is often told that he is a pedant, he is happy with that description because he is aware that he has high expectations of himself and never leaves a job unfinished. One day, Ahmed was called into his manager’s office to be told that a new employee named Ravi, was to be a new member of his team. His manager fully explained to Ahmed the reasons for the new position and Ravi’s appointment.
However, when Ravi started work, instead of being on time, he was ten minutes late and from therein it went from bad to worse. He appeared to have little pride in what he was doing and did not adhere to the specified cleaning procedures laid down within his own job description.
This attitude made Ahmed very uncomfortable and he discussed the problem, at home, with his wife. She asked him if he had fully briefed Ravi about the importance of his work in preventing the spread of infection within the hospital. Had he explained to Ravi the reasons behind the cleaning program and how important cleanliness is when dealing with patients and disease.
Ahmed thought through that conversation and came to the conclusion that he could have given a more in-depth briefing to Ravi and that maybe part of that problem was due to the fact that he wasn’t really enthusiastic about having another person on his team.
The next day Ahmed went to work and arranged to go out with Ravi at lunch time in order to spend time going through the reasons as to why their cleaning role was so important. He described how the cleaning services department was responsible for ensuring that there was no rubbish left anywhere within the hospital; that all refuse bins were emptied before every night shift and that all wards, operating theatres and patient waiting areas were kept scrupulously clean and free from hidden germs. It was explained to Ravi that patients can die from a hospital acquired infection and that is why there is very little more important than hygiene, the practice conducive to the preservation of health i.e. cleanliness. In effect, they were helping to save lives. After that discussion ended, Ahmed told Ravi how pleased he was that they were going to be working together.
That evening Ahmed went home and told his wife of the measurable difference his conversation had had on Ravi, who now recognised the purpose of what he was doing, and who was now taking a pride in his work.
The above is an inspiring story of how anyone can change their attitude to their work when they can see the purpose of what they are doing. They suddenly begin to feel that they are an integral part of a larger agenda. On an individual level, people who understand their job’s purpose, are usually more motivated.
On an organisational level, when employees see how their role fits in with the company goals and vision, staff performance and productivity invariably rises. People are more creative and take a greater pride in their work so that the company operates more efficiently. From the CEO to company clients, everyone benefits from these positive effects.
So here are three strategic tips:
Make sure your department has its own mission statement that is in line with the mission of the organisation. That statement should define the purpose and scope of everyone’s job within the department
Link personal drivers with team or company goals.
Make time to see everyone in your team and find out what it is that motivates and drives them, individually. Then see a way to link this information to the goals of the organisation. When you ascertain what it is that individuals do best, then try to utilise that interest and talent for the benefit of the company.
Use constructive feedback
We all respond well to recognition when we know that what we are doing is making a difference. Gathering together and providing regular feedback from clients or customers will inspire your team when they can see the end result.
- Ensure that everyone knows the value of their work
- Link personal strengths with company goals
- Provide constructive feedback, regularly
Written by Carole Spiers and reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News.