We’ve been learning a lot about the importance of workplace pride at Fonterra recently.
In our regular ‘pulse check’ employee engagement survey, we asked our team members if they had engagement plans and if those plans were making a difference to how they felt at work. Over 80% of our 22,000+ employees worldwide completed it, so the findings were robust.
For the first time we asked how proud our employees are to work at Fonterra. Now it's no secret that our financial performance isn't where we want it to be and we are working hard to build the confidence of farmers and the public alike.
Being the world's biggest dairy exporter, and the largest employer in many towns around New Zealand, means we are visible and everyone has a view about how we are doing. With this in mind, we wanted to find out how our employees felt about working for the Co-operative.
We were pleased to see that 80% of our employees agreed or strongly agreed that they feel proud to work at Fonterra.
We took great heart from this, not least because pride in your employer is a well-known indicator of how engaged you are likely to be. Good employee engagement strongly correlates with increased performance metrics including going the extra mile. We already knew our people did this, but for the first time we were able to pin-point one of the reasons why.
Several studies have found a correlation between feeling proud of where you work and your engagement. The results of one study published in the Harvard Business Review in 2016 found a link between pride and perseverance in the work place.
Interestingly, Facebook did a significant piece of research which showed that the single most important driver of engagement at Facebook was pride in the organisation - what it stood for, what it was trying to achieve, and the level of care it showed to its employees and communities. Facebook found that when employees took pride in the company they internalised organisational goals as their own. And they directed their energy on what was best for the organisation.
We aren't dissimilar. Factors we've seen contribute to levels of pride at Fonterra are a sense of optimism, our work on sustainability, the inherent nutrition of dairy, and building closer connections with our farmers.