You’ve seen employees in your workplace that are positive, enthused, and productive – and employees who are not. How can leaders create an environment where all employees are passionate about their work, their customers, their peers, their bosses? I’ve recently seen initial results from literature reviews and research by colleagues* at the Ken Blanchard Companies on the factors that influence employee work passion.

For organizational leaders, their discoveries provide wonderful insight into the impact leaders have on committed, connected employees. A preliminary field test of their employee work passion model was completed this year; the team shared their initial insights with me.

I won’t review the overall employee work passion model in this post; the white paper on their model can be found here. The team defines employee work passion as an individual’s persistent, emotionally positive, meaning-based state of well-being stemming from continuous, reoccurring cognitive and affective appraisals of various job and organizational situations, which results in consistent, constructive work intentions and behaviors.

A primary contention of this model is that intention is a major aspect of employee work passion. The five major employee intentions found in the literature include:

  1. Intent to stay,
  2. Intent to endorse,
  3. Intent to exert discretionary effort,
  4. Intent to use organizational citizenship behaviors, and
  5. Intent to perform.

Leadership policies and behaviors, day to day, directly influence these employee intentions. These discoveries parallel our efforts with culture change clients over the past 12 years! f you’ve been reading my posts here, you know that our proven culture change process enables clients to create workplaces that:

  • Clarify performance expectations and holds all staff equally accountable for goal accomplishment,
  • Clarify values expectations and holds all staff equally accountable for demonstration of defined valued behaviors,
  • Fairly and consistently apply processes, policies, and procedures to all employees,
  • Provide autonomy and flexibility for staff members to apply their discretionary energy at work,
  • Connect staff to customers and each other, and
  • Provide a sense of meaning and teamwork beyond making money.

If leaders create an environment where employees are able to willingly act upon these intentions, a high-performing, values-aligned culture will result. Employees will be dedicated to creating devoted customers, increased profits, and sustainable growth.

The team’s research is ongoing; further studies are required to thoroughly understand the specific impact of strategic leadership and operational leadership on employee well-being and on these positive intentions. Refinement on the current employee work passion survey will be based on these discoveries.

I have been invited to help craft the consultative solutions to help clients close gaps revealed by the employee work passion survey. Our proven culture change process will be a starting point for these solutions, as our successes with closing gaps with that process will serve us well in the employee work passion arena. Look for updates in my blog posts regarding this exciting project!

* Drea Zigarmi Ed.D., Kim Nimon Ph.D., Dobie Housen, David Witt and Jim Diehl

S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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