Why we help developers explore their ”Why”

Erika Kósa
Erika Kósa ↓ 4 minute read
Sep 29, 2021
Read 215 times

Everything makes more sense when you have a specific reason that guides your actions, when you know the impact you are trying to achieve, and when you can always remind yourself what made you start in the first place. The shorter version of what I said can perfectly be summarized in three words, “Start with WHY”, which is also Simon Sinek’s book title. This book has fastly become part of the mandatory bibliography of the Human Direct team.

Being our team’s People and Culture Officer, I realized there’s no more powerful drive than intrinsic motivation. Even though we, as a team, share similar values and points of view, there are always unique aspects to each member that constitutes the fuel behind their work ethic and dedication. Probably everyone has an intuition about their own ”Why”, but it takes time and introspection to define it and become aware of it. So, as a team activity that was beneficial both individually and for the company, each colleague received Simon Sinek’s book. We had a two-week timeframe to read it, reflect upon the ”Why” in our lives, and share our most important stories with someone close to us to define further the ”Why” that keeps us going.

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We then shared our most relevant stories with the rest of the team and played a game with everyone’s ”Why” stated in a presentation and us having to guess whose it was. It was an emotional moment that brought us closer together and made us resonate more with each other, finding we have similar reasons that drive us.

Why am I doing this?

The book describes this practical exercise to help you find your ”Why” and, from my role’s perspective, I will also like to touch on how supporting the employees to discover their ”Why”s can benefit the company.

Your WHY and the company’s EVP

In the book, there’s this little story about someone who worked more than 20 years for a company being constantly highly motivated to do and perform better and improve their career. Only after a discussion with Simon Sinek’s colleague did he become aware of why his engagement towards the company remained constant throughout the years and did not feel stuck even for a moment. That was because his values, reasons, and WHY aligned with the company’s EVP, the employee value proposition. An EVP is the unique set of offerings a company promises its employees in return for contributing their time, talent, skills, capabilities, and experience. Still, an EVP is about defining the essence of a company – how it is unique and what it stands for.

Employee Value Proposition

The professional goals are usually fueled by the same set of reasons and values as the personal goals, and finding your ”Why” will make you aware of what brings joy and satisfaction in your life. Only by relating your WHY to the company’s EVP you, as an employee, can contour an idea of the longevity, satisfaction, and progress you will have in a particular organizational culture. This is why we decided to do this exercise with our team, and this is also why we encourage every developer to find their ”Why” before making career decisions. This exercise helped my colleagues understand whether their place is within Human Direct and if their ”Why” correlates with our mission to offer developers a unique recruiting experience, contributing to bettering their career decisions. We happily discovered that everyone has a very specific ”Why” that perfectly aligns with what our company stands for and that Human Direct’s EVP activates their intrinsic motivation.

We are friends

WHY is a team player

I find great joy in helping the people I work with become closer to the best version of themselves every day. Still, I also always have in mind the development of the company and the impact great employees can have on the business at large. I identified five ways in which we can maximize the impact of WHY in Human Direct:

  1. Once I know the ”Why” of each team member, we can implement that information into their PDP; the personal development plan (PDP) is an excellent tool for improving employee performance by helping them set goals according to their values (and ”Why”s), developing strategies to reach those goals, and measure their progress;
  2. When organizing growth and development projects - like team buildings, workshops, or coaching sessions - taking into account each person’s ”Why” will result in greater engagement, a higher sense of fulfillment and will spark the motivation for bettering their performance and career prospects even further;
  3. Promotions and assigning new responsibilities are done with the employee’s intrinsic motivation in mind, the ”Why”;
  4. It helps us estimate the risk of stagnation or demotivation for each employee and step in with efficient solutions before it’s too late;
  5. Knowing what drives each colleague to perform at their best increases team cohesion, understanding why members may prioritize tasks differently, and the commitment towards the colleagues and the company.
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I highly encourage all developers to give Simon Sinek’s book a go and find your specific ”Why”. Have it in mind when making career decisions, whether changing your job, accepting or declining a promotion, or simply shifting your working approach. The more specific you can think of what truly drives you, the better you will position yourself in every challenging situation, and the more straightforward it will be what choices you will need to make at any given point.

My colleagues and I would gladly like to hear your life-changing stories and your WHYs. This way, we will understand developers even more and improve our strategies on how we, as recruiters and consultants, can fulfill our duty in the best way possible. So don’t hesitate to contribute to the IT and recruitment community by writing to us by email or on any social media platform.

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