Embrace the spirit of public service and civic responsibility in your workplace culture with inspiration from Public Service Day!
This week the United Nations is celebrating Public Service Day (June 23) with a three-day forum in Colombia. The U.N. created Public Service Day in 2003 to raise global awareness and show appreciation of public service workers and their contributions around the world.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also issued a call this week to “young people everywhere to consider dedicating themselves to the noble cause of public service as we strive to build a future of dignity for all.”
Here in the U.S., we also celebrate public service workers during Public Service Recognition Week. In 2016, the 32nd annual event will be held May 1 to 7.
Public Service Day is an inspiration for everyday engagement and gratitude in your workplace culture, whether you’re set up as a government agency, nonprofit organization or private company. Read on to learn how to take advantage of this in your workplace.
Inspiring Everyday engagement with the spirit of public service day
Public Service Day is for everyone, even those of us who don’t work directly in the public sector. We rely on public service employees every day, from office administrators to sanitation crews to the city council.
So, what can their service goals, work philosophy and dedication teach us about employee engagement? Let’s break it down, inspired by the U.N. Secretary-General’s message for Public Service Day 2015.
These six key goals and realities for public service workers translate in other sectors:
1. Culture is global and interconnected
What happens in one part of the world now can have a huge impact on people thousands of miles away. What role does your company play in engaging with surrounding neighborhoods and cities and on the state, national and global level? Engagement isn’t just about how employees relate to each other and the work. Truly engaged employees are also engaged with their community.
2. Coordinate engagement on an institutional level
Public service workers are engaged in the philosophy that we’re all in this together. This global context applies within your organization, too. Engagement efforts need to be all-encompassing. When a CEO is engaged in her work, so are the thousands of distributed customer service employees who work for the company, and vice versa.
3. Make decisions participatory
Bring some of the democratic process into your organization’s decision-making process. Researchers at the Canadian John Molson School for Business at Concordia University in Montreal found a strong link between employee input in decisions and an overall culture of trust and engagement.
4. Innovate to solve problems
Ban Ki-Moon is calling for renewed commitment this year for governments everywhere to adopt innovative and integrated approaches to address “enormous social, economic and environmental challenges.” Innovation sparks an immediate marker of engagement: personal connection. Organizations give employees a stake in company goals by giving them the freedom to innovate solutions to big challenges.
5. Strive for responsive, inclusive & accountable service delivery
“Responsible, inclusive and accountable service delivery” is important in the public service sector when engaging the public with new policies, according to Ban Ki-Moon. These words should also be the mantra for your engagement program. Does the program respond to employee needs and include all employees? And does your program’s delivery have checks and balances in place so you’re sure it’s working?
6. The spirit of volunteerism
Most public servants are paid, but many perform their job duties at reduced rates or for free. Ban Ki-Moon describes this as the “noble cause of public service as we strive to build a future of dignity for all.” Volunteerism in the workplace is a great way to bring together the key tenets of employee engagement: an “in this together” attitude, meaningful work, teamwork and a strong connection to the community at large.
The best part about the U.N.’s Public Service Day mission this year is its universality. No matter your budget or the size of your workforce, these six goals are a great inspiration for your employee engagement model!
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement, respect and recognition, be sure to download our free e-book, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading”.
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