Factors of employee engagement that can launch you towards your goals

22 September, 2018
SpaceX is innovative and forward-looking, relying on a purposeful team to drive results. Its team building strategies are founded on these factors of employee engagement.

A team culture is the launchpad of long-term success

If you want to see what a fully engaged organisation looks like, one in which every employee is unbreakably bonded through an entrenched commitment to shared values and beliefs, then you need look no further than this SpaceX makes history video. It shows the culmination of a milestone landmark – a moment in time in which every person shares the apprehension, fear, angst, and ultimate joy of the CEO and embodies the key factors of employee engagement we will look at in this article.

The spirit and sense of togetherness that is evident in every frame of this short film hasn’t happened by accident. It’s been engineered by leadership strategies informed by the factors of employee engagement that turn a group of individuals into a coherent and committed team. It’s very special to watch, and even more special to be a part of.

In this article, we discuss the SpaceX sparkle that has created a truly connected company. Are these the factors of employee engagement that your leadership team should employ to attain your goals faster?


Shooting for the stars

SpaceX is the brainchild of Elon Musk, serial entrepreneur and founder of companies such as PayPal and Tesla. The mission of SpaceX is to “revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets”. A lofty ambition, but, after watching the video, who would bet against it being achieved? You can see that this is a team pulling together, shooting for the stars, and working collectively to overcome all challenges it faces.


Factors of employee engagement that create a culture of success

SpaceX is innovative, sharp, and forward-thinking. Many people want to work there. The company attracts some of the globe’s most innovative freethinkers. The kind of people who might traditionally be thought of as experimentalists: non-conformers who prefer to work independently. Yet, the sense of togetherness is undeniable.

In an interview with the jobs and recruiting website Glassdoor, in 2017, Brian Bjelde, SpaceX VP of Human Resources, spoke of the factors of employee engagement that SpaceX use to develop its staff hiring and team building strategies.

1.   Dedication to providing an employee experience

The organisation places great store in providing an exceptional employee experience, allowing its people to be experimental and draw on others.

2.   Allowing people to fail

SpaceX understands that failure is a stepping stone to success. It provides an environment where failure is accepted as part of the process of reaching goals, using failures as a launching pad to learn and develop success.

3.   Creating an open and honest workplace

People are encouraged to be honest and to provide feedback in a constructive way. Instead of being seen as a way to criticise the efforts of others, feedback is accepted as a genuine tool to enable improvement toward shared goals.

4.   Belief in the company mission

The company mission is easy to understand, and it’s an aim that resonates with all employees. This belief is fostered by creating a sense of belonging in the workplace. It starts with the mission statement, which should go beyond words and become a story that leaders can articulate to their teams.

5.   Breaking down silos and connecting people

All employees are connected to the organisation’s long-term mission. Each is valued, and management reminds them that individual and group contributions count to the collective goals. This is a key factor of employee engagement, and one which is central to the culture of SpaceX in its desire to align and focus its people. It breaks down silos and connects people across multiple work functions.

6.   Success (and failure) is a shared experience

Successes and failures are shared experiences. Sometimes it will be the pain of a failure that is felt. Sometimes the elation of success. Whichever the experience, it is always encountered as a team.

7.   Recruit the person, not the CV

SpaceX may have a mission to see humans become a multi-planet species, but with its feet firmly on terra firma, the company places great emphasis on getting the right people. This means employing people with the passion, positive attitude and drive to become part of a team with a greater goal.

They don’t rely on CVs to determine the right person for the job. Instead they try out candidates with team interviews, practical tests, and one-to-ones. The organisation may be developing some of the most highly developed technology tools in the world, but it is very much a people business.


What does a fully engaged team look like?

Watch the video again. It’s clear that this is a real team, living and breathing as a single entity. It has been shaped by strategies founded on factors of employee engagement.

One of the comments made of the video, by Shalabh Singh, sums up what a fully engaged team looks like:

“During the entire process, we can visualise the efforts this team has put, on their face. Women having tears in their eyes on the verge of rolling down their cheeks, a man joining his hands requesting his God (if any) to cross the barrier of knowledge this time. A whole row of women holding each other’s hand in unison, hoping that they can jump with joy when the moment comes. The entire team clapping like mad people every time the rocket surpasses another checkpoint, the crying face of Elon Musk when he thinks that it’s going bad and finally the smile in head team, after they were able to land the rocket perfectly.”

Could you say the same about your team?

Let your mission be the story that articulates your vision, and one that engages your employees in collective values and beliefs that drive the team to achieve your organisation’s goals. Let your engagement strategy be informed by the key factors of employee engagement, signalling the value of individual contributions and encouraging discussion about how to achieve positive outcomes.

At The Big Picture People, we help our clients communicate their vision, values, beliefs, and mission to their employees. Over the last 20 years, our “Learning Maps” have helped countless organisations take over half a million employees through this process with tremendous results.

Get in touch with us to find out how you can apply our Big Picture People approach to your organisation.

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