Employee Pride: What Is It?
A client recently asked us whether, as part of their employee survey action planning, they should deliberately encourage their employees to take pride in working for their company. As it turns out, their results were fairly low on this measure so they were wondering if building employee pride is something they should focus on.
This question led us to look more deeply into the importance and role of pride within organizations. We started first with asking “what is employee pride anyway and is it important to work?”
We quickly realized that there are two distinct definitions of pride in workplaces – one form is taking pride in the work that they do, which employees develop when they feel good about themselves, trust in their abilities and are confident in managing the tasks and responsibilities expected of them. We believe that this type of pride is strongly linked to job satisfaction and commitment and, in our experience, employees who feel a strong sense of pride in their work are also:
- More ambitious, energetic, focused and motivated,
- More effective at tackling and overcoming work-oriented challenges,
- Better able to set, achieve and maintain high standards and goals,
- More likely to develop positive interpersonal relationships and to work as “team players,” and
- Likely to communicate with more effectively their managers, peers and direct reports.
As with all action that builds job satisfaction and commitment, these strengths can translate into higher productivity, lower turnover and sick time and greater returns for organizations. That’s it’s important to concentrate on developing “pride in work” among their staff.
However, our client’s specific question was not about fostering pride in the work but, rather, about whether they should build the other kind of employee pride – that is, taking pride in the organization itself.
Pride In The Organization: Should You Build It?
The evidence on the importance of feeling pride in the company where you work is somewhat mixed. Based on our most recent US employee survey normative database, three-quarters of employees agree that it is important to them that they “feel proud to work at this organization.” This means that pride is pretty important but it is not as importance as such key factors like knowing what is expected of them, feeling secure in their positions, agreeing that the organization equitably administers policies and procedures, having adequate authority to do their work and believing that their pay is fair.
It is also clear from our norms that US organizations are not doing especially well on building a send of pride in their company itself. Just two-thirds of employees agree that they do feel pride I in the organization where they work. This would suggest that there is room for most organizations to improve in this area.
However, should this be a priority for employers, given the range of other factors – such as demonstrating respect for employees, providing them with meaningful reward and recognition and encouraging realistic career planning – that most organizations are also poor at performing?
To answer this question, we looked at where pride in the organization falls in terms of our Motivations & Drivers analysis. This analysis looks at how strongly linked organizational characteristics are to job satisfaction and focuses on those that are both (1) key contributors to feeling satisfied with your job and (2) the upside potential for improvement. Unfortunately, feeling a sense of pride in the organization does not rank particularly well on the importance measure. This means that it would not be worthwhile for most organizations to take action in this area.
Back To The Original Question: Should They Take Action?
Since not all organizations are alike, we reviewed the Motivations & Drivers analysis for the client who specifically asked us about organization pride and, in fact, feeling proud of where they worked is extremely important to these employees. For that reason, it made sense for them to include fostering pride as part of their employee survey follow-up strategy. We also agreed to provide some suggestions for action that would help them improve their scores moving forward.
Guidelines For Building Pride in Your Organization
Here are several key steps that can encourage employees to feel a strong sense of pride in the company where they work:
1. Leading by example – having a charismatic leader is certainly one route to “personifying” the organization but it is not the only way. Making sure your leadership team is highly visible, approachable and empathetic to employee concerns can work just as well.
2. Building credibility and trust – one of the definitions of “pride” is feeling respected and it is unlikely that employees will feel connected to an organization that does not clearly value the contributions and efforts they make every day. Can the actions your organization takes on a daily basis be described proudly from a witness stand in a court of law?
3. Weeding out favoritism – one clear way to destroy a feeling of pride is failing to tackle any feeling that “it’s not what you know but who you know” that leads to success in your organization. Employees need to believe that the odds are not stacked against them if they want to advance through the organization.
4. Listening and action on employee concerns – too often, we hear that the “feedback loop” in organizations runs in only one direction, meaning that senior management make decisions without involving the attitudes and opinions of those who will be affected by those decisions.
5. Supporting training and development – employees are more likely to be ambassadors for the companies that invest in their education.
6. Promoting job stability – employees need to feel that, if they are going to be there for the organization, then the organization should also make its best effort to be there for them.
7. Offering fair pay for fair work – although pay is not necessarily a key driver of job satisfaction, being seen to have fair pay policies is help employees feel proud of where they work. Incentives, benefits and profit-sharing opportunities all help create an environment where people want to work, do their best and be a part of a great organization.
We have helped thousands of clients who want to better understand their workforce and improve levels of employee engagement and would love to help you. To find out how our employee survey can measure employee opinions in your organization and provide you with the diagnostics to see what change is needed, give us a call at 866-802-8095 ext. 705 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.