A clear understanding of how an employee’s particular role contributes to the agency’s mission can be an incredible form of emotional compensation. Human beings naturally want to belong to something that has significance and meaning. They want to know they are making a difference. While individual achievement is important, when an employee feels they are an integral part of a larger whole, they are more likely to feel committed. It is more exciting to “share a mission” than to “complete a task.”
To foster these feelings of attachment to the agency’s mission, FSA’s most effective managers are helping their employees to discover their own sense of purpose. Discovering a connection between the agency’s underlying value and their employees’ values is a powerful way of developing loyalty.
“The mission of FSA is to aid and support farmers out in the field office. I've always looked at that if we can help people here do their jobs, faster, quicker, less taxing, then we help them to help the farmers. And that's how I've always tied it in and that's how I see us helping with the mission.”
FSA’s best managers are also making their employees feel that they belong and that their contributions are valuable and unique. As one employee said: “I feel like by [performing my tasks well] that I'm supporting the agency’s mission in some way or another.”
FSA employees who work in an area that has an impact on the “bigger picture,” told us they feel as if he or she truly has a voice in the agency. When employees are in teams that do not directly feed up to the overarching mission, they do not feel like they have a voice. Great FSA managers are giving their teams the support, tools, and guidance to enable them to make a difference.
“ It's very important that you feel good coming to work knowing that you do help make a difference and what you do in your job is very important to the overall goal of the agency.”
The FSA’s best practices that emerged from our analysis for this question are to: 1) help employees understand how their work relates directly to the larger mission of FSA and USDA; 2) encourage employees to develop their own mission that is specific to their individual part of FSA’s larger mission; and 3) enable employees to make a difference by fostering a work environment that allows employees to succeed and to grow.