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Senior Leadership - Integrating Vision to Boost Engagement

There’s a story – possibly apocryphal, but instructive nonetheless – about John F. Kennedy touring NASA in the early 1960s and asking a janitor what his job was there. “Mr President,” came the reply, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.” How can you inspire the same buy-in from employees? By integrating your corporate vision into every aspect of your organization.

Goal


To boost employee engagement by integrating your corporate vision into everything that happens in the workplace.

What is Integrating Vision to Boost Engagement?
Following Kennedy’s 1961 announcement that the USA would put a man on the moon before the decade was out, everyone at NASA felt they were helping to work toward a singular goal. The establishment of a dramatic guiding vision for the organization inspired everyone working there to work harder – not just astronauts and engineers but, so the story goes, even maintenance workers – and to see themselves as one small part in a grander endeavour. Such thinking helps bind teams together and leads everyone to bring their best work. Now, not every corporate vision involves a goal as inspiring and historic as a visit to the moon, but tapping into a larger, unifying goal is something every organization needs to do in order to stir the imagination, and the abilities, of its employees. And it’s not enough just to state that goal: you have to make it the centre of all you do.

How does Integrating Vision to Boost Engagement improve employee engagement and culture?
In a study discussed in Forbes, employees who feel no connection with their company’s vision showed engagement scores of only 16%. Those who felt “average” connection with the corporate vision had better engagement scores, at 40%. But those who said they find vision meaningful showed dramatically higher engagement levels: 68%, or a full 18 percentile points more engaged than average and 52 points above the group that felt their company’s vision was not meaningful. Clearly, vision and employee engagement are closely connected: a strong vision that employees buy into can make the difference between a workforce that’s just putting in time for a paycheque and one that works hard for the accomplishments of the group.

What are the benefits?
Only 40% of millennials feel strongly connected to their company’s vision. By getting otherwise disaffected colleagues – particularly younger colleagues – to connect to the company vision, you’ll stimulate a boost in engagement and productivity.

How do you conduct Integrating Vision to Boost Engagement in the workplace?
Drafting a vision is one thing but integrating it into your company’s DNA is another. Too often, the vision statement is something that hangs on the wall but never gets talked about. The first step, once you’ve decided on what the vision of your organization should be, is to commit to integrating that vision into every aspect of your organization. From top to bottom, from CEO to temp, in every department and activity, use that vision to guide – and rewrite, if necessary – best practices. And lastly, explicitly invoke the vision every time a decision needs to be reached or an action needs to be taken.

Action


Make Vision Part Of Your Organization's DNA

Make sure your vision statement is stirring and wide-ranging: it needs to be something that can guide you when you and your colleagues aren’t sure how to handle a situation. Hint: it’s not just about what you sell – it’s about what your values and goals are as an organization and, specifically, how your organization relates to the world. It should be a way of saying “we can do anything, but we choose to do this, because we think it’s important.” Look at vision statements by organizations and see which ones speak to you and why. The vision statement is a way for those who run the organization to express why exactly they are running it; for those who work there, it’s a way to understand what values and goals they have signed on to promote.

Align your everyday work activities with your vision statement. If your activities and your mission don’t match, you need to rethink one or the other. At first it may seem easier to tweak the vision, but later, as you start to integrate the vision into all aspects of your organization, that will be harder to do. Resist the easy, short-term win and do what’s necessary to walk the walk.

Let your vision guide hiring – and firing. The vision, and how employees react to it, is an important barometer of workplace performance. It’s perfectly possible to be an asset to an organization without loving your corporate vision on a personal level, of course, but generally you want to gather people who share an enthusiasm for the vision and want to work to bring it to life – people who feel the corporate vision expresses something of themselves.

Teach the vision early in training – and then come back to it, a lot. Too many companies present their vision at the start of their employee handbook and then never discuss it again. But that’s not going to align anyone with anything. Make the vision, and the values it entails, a theme at meetings and other gatherings – not in a “buzzword” way but in the sense of actively steering activities according to the values it represents. Show you are willing to hold your organization to the principles of the vision, and listen – and act accordingly – when you are told that something doesn’t line up.

Reward those who work toward the vision. Use the vision for positive reinforcement of behaviour by framing bonuses, perks and rewards for jobs well done. Perhaps have a separate recognition of employee activity that fulfils the vision that week or month. Show that furthering the vision is just as important as meeting deadlines, satisfying customers or landing that big contract. Soon enough, you’ll have people proud to be getting on-side.

Reference Material
Why Engaging Your Employees Is The Answer To Strategic Planning
5 Ways to Make Sure Your Employees Take Your Company's Values Seriously
How to Engage Employees Through Your Company Vision Statement

Updated on: 08/31/2023

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