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Are You Proud of Your Organization?

Our son Ben was married several months ago. My wife and I were very happy and proud. As we walked him down the aisle we were bursting with the pride we feel for our son.

Let me tell you a little about Ben. He is a poised, warm, thoughtful, and bright young man. He gives back to the community by working for a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that helps innercity pre-school children get a jumpstart in school by exposing them to reading. He is also a volunteer Big Brother. He has many, many close friends. (More than 50 of them travelled across the country to the wedding.) He chose a wife who is equally poised, warm, smart—and beautiful to boot. We are proud of what he has accomplished thus far in his life and are very optimistic about his future with his new bride.

Still on an emotional high from the wedding, I started thinking about what makes employees proud of their organizations.

First, Does Organizational Pride Matter?
Over the years in my employee survey consulting business we have asked employees in more than 70 organizations about whether or not they are proud of their organization. Seventy-three percent of them say they are. Furthermore our research shows that employees who are proud of their organizations are more:
  • Engaged in their work
  • Satisfied with their organizations as a place to work
  • Committed to their organization
  • Willing to recommend their organization as a good place to work
  • Likely to stay with the organization for many more years

What Makes Employees Proud of Their Organizations?
Here are the 10 factors our research shows are most strongly related to organizational pride:
1. Giving back
Employees are proud of their organizations if they give back to the community by supporting local charities.

2. Optimism
Employees who are optimistic about the future of their organization and their own personal future there are more proud of their organizations.

3. Quality products and services
Employees who believe their organization provides excellent products or services are proud to work there.

4. How decisions are made
If employees have the decision-making authority they need and if senior management makes clear-cut decisions, employees are more likely to be proud to work there.

5. Respect for employees
Organizational pride is stronger for employees if they believe management listens to them and if their co-workers respect them.

6. Employee development
Organizations that provide their employees with opportunities to learn new skills have prouder employees.

7. Cost control
Organizational pride is stronger in organizations where the employees believe that the quality of the products and services provided are not sacrificed to control costs.

8. Sense of accomplishment
Employees who feel a strong sense of personal accomplishment from their work are more proud of their organizations.

9. Benefits
Employees who are satisfied with their employee benefits are more proud to work in their organizations.

10. Transparency
Organizations that clearly explain the steps they are taking to reach their goals have prouder employees.

How Can Organizations Improve Employee Pride?
1. Give back to the community
Act as a responsible corporate citizen by supporting local charities, being active in the community, conducting business in an environmentally-safe fashion, and providing time for employees to volunteer in the community.

2. Celebrate employee loyalty
Show employees that you value their long-term service by publicly giving out awards that recognize their years of service. Hold retirement parties and retrain employees if different skills are needed as the organization changes.

3. Focus on quality
Foster a climate that encourages employees to continuously improve the quality of their work and recognize employee contributions to improving product quality and customer service.

4. Empower employees
Provide employees with the decision-making authority they need to perform their jobs well.

5. Listen to employees
Senior management should circumvent the hierarchy by meeting often directly with employees to listen to their ideas, suggestions, and concerns.

6. Foster employee growth
Provide opportunities for all employees to learn new skills by enriching their jobs, providing more training, and supporting their desire to take outside courses.

7. Focus on cost control
Continuously identify new ways to reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of products and services.

8. Enable employees to feel a sense of personal accomplishment
Too often employees perform their jobs every day without really knowing how well they are helping the organization achieve its goals, save money, improve product quality, or satisfy customers. Communicate to employees how their efforts are translating into the organization's success.

9. Maintain transparency
Clearly communicate to employees the organization’s goals and the steps being taken to achieve those goals. Also, clearly communicate information about pay and how pay levels are determined.

10. Provide a strong benefit program
Look for ways to enhance your benefit program. Also, prepare individual compensation statements that show each employee what pay and benefits they receive.

Pride matters. Proud employees are more engaged, more satisfied, more committed, and stay longer. Your efforts will be well worthwhile if you continually look for ways to make your employees feel as proud of your organization as we are of our son.

You can learn more about employee engagement and satisfaction at this AMA seminar:
Fundamentals of Human Resources Management 

About the Author(s)

Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. is an industrial/organizational psychologist and founder and president of Discovery Surveys, Inc. (http://www.discoverysurveys.com/) and the Center for Independent Consulting (www.centerforindependentconsulting.com). He is the author of 30 Reasons Employees Hate their Managers (AMACOM) and, most recently, An Insider's Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice (AMACOM, 2010).