Vision statements. We invest days or weeks developing them. We explain them on our website. We trot them out at annual meetings. We start off every employee onboarding session with them. We may even post them on our walls. And then we go on about our day-to-day business secure in the knowledge that we’ve got vision and our people have got it too.
But here’s the thing: many employees will tell you they don’t know where their company is headed. In fact, research shows that 52% of employees can’t recite their organization’s vision and 49% can’t recall their organization’s values. Additional surveys found that only 40% of employees felt strongly connected to their company’s mission.
Employees will also tell you that working for a company that has a higher sense of purpose is important to both productivity and job satisfaction. For example, research on the engagement level of employees shows that 73% of employees who report working for a purpose-driven organization are engaged compared to 23% at non-purpose-driven organizations. Research also shows that over 33% of employees work harder if they know and understand how their job benefits society.
So how do you bring your vision into your everyday life? We have listed five steps you can take to ensure your vision is being communicated day in and day out.
1. Make it a foundation for all of your internal communications.
Start and end every monthly town hall with your vision. Include it in employee newsletters. Use it on agendas for internal meetings.
2. Connect your daily work to your vision.
When you celebrate great work, exemplary customer service, creative ideas, etc. relate those accomplishments specifically to how they further your efforts to achieve your vision. This is a great way to align behavior with your vision.
3. Relate employee accomplishments to your vision.
When there’s a promotion or a new position added, conveying how that position supports your vision or how the actions of the person being promoted are in alignment with your vision.
4. Link company milestones and successes to your vision.
When you launch a new product or service, expand into a new market, win a new customer or retain an important customer there’s an opportunity to show that the decisions you are making are guided by your vision.
5. Encourage everyone in your company to know and apply your vision.
A former client was fond of giving employees spot quizzes on the company vision (something she shared with me when my firm used their vision in our pitch for their business). A pastor I know frequently asks his church council to say their vision together in their meetings. I saw firsthand from these leaders how easy it can be to keep vision top of mind.
Some of these ideas may feel forced or even a little cheesy at first. And you may feel that you are repeating yourself. That’s okay. Repetition is necessary and if you are a growing company, you are gaining new employees all the time and once again, the research shows employees want to work for companies with a compelling vision
Keep in mind these words from author Simon Sinek, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”