How to Engage Employees Through Your Company Vision Statement
A Note From The Editor
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When the Walt Disney Co. was created in 1923, it had a simple vision. The company wanted to be the “world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.” Furthermore, it sought to “develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.”
The core ideology of Disney was to “bring happiness to millions.” It achieved that mission by imprinting magical and inspiring experiences on children that stuck around well into their adulthood. Disney's vision has led it to be one of the biggest entertainment brands in the world for almost a century.
The important thing here is that Disney's success has come from the power of its vision. A company’s success depends on having a solid vision for the future -- and employing an engaged team that is dedicated to making that vision a reality. A clear vision statement helps companies run more efficiently because it keeps everyone on the same page.
In order to achieve this vision, employees need to strongly align with their company’s values and mission. Gallup’s 2016 report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, found that only 40 percent of millennial employees surveyed felt strongly connected to their company’s mission. This disconnect is sure to cause a lack of direction and create listless employees disengaged from their work.
Here are three ways organizations can ensure that employees see the value in their work through a company vision that is front-and-center in the workplace:
1. Reinforce the company vision by tying it to team and individual goals.
The vision statement of any company should be tied to achievable goals for employees. Framing the company vision in this manner will make it an integral part of the day-to-day experience. Everyone from the employees to the CEO should be feeding into the system to push the company toward its goal.
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh enforces his company's vision -- to give the best customer service possible. As he puts it, “Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.”
Zappos's culture is centered on the customer experience. Every employee understands this and shares the same goal every day. Whenever someone delivers excellent customer service, that person rings a bell and everyone celebrates. This is a motivational tactic, and it reminds each employee of the impact he or she can have on the company’s overarching vision.
Recognition should be given to employees who accomplish goals that align with the vision. Acknowledgment can range from a public thank you to a handwritten note or a small gift card. Zappos has several fun rewards programs that motivate everyone to live by the vision statement.
For example, employees can earn and reward Zappos dollars, also known as Zollars, which they use to shop in the internal Zollar store for fun prizes. Employees can even nominate their peers to earn a WOW parking spot closest to the building for one week when they see them making a big difference.
These small gestures of peer-to-peer recognition are powerful. Not only are they fun, but they inspire everyone on the team to hold each other accountable to be their best and contribute to the vision.
2. Promote the company vision by always making sure it’s visible.
The vision statement needs to be a constant focal point. In order for the vision to be visible to employees everywhere, it needs to be concise and relatable to every employee at every level.
IKEA keeps its vision statement simple -- “A better everyday life.” Management explains this vision not just to its staff, but also to its customers. Essentially, the company considers the relationship between IKEA and their customers as a partnership.
IKEA uses terms like “we” and “together” to appeal to customers, which in turn makes it easier for employees to see the impact the company’s vision has on the success of the business. They can see the vision statement in action. Do the same at your company: Show employees how the vision statement is being put into action.
Set a goal every week for the staff to exhibit a core value that contributes to the realization of the vision and offer incentives. Find ways to gamify and track individual progress and celebrate successes as a team. Just as Zappos uses the bell-ringing, it’s best to make things fun and ensure that everyone gets involved, by developing the activity around the organization's unique culture.
3. Share success stories that realize the company vision.
Achievers’ 2015 North America Workforce report found that 60 percent of employees didn't know their company’s vision. This is alarming considering the positive impact a vision statement has on the workforce.
Use storytelling to share your vision statement with employees. This is especially effective when companies share their employees’ success stories with the entire team.
Denver-based Groundfloor Media publicly recognizes its employees by sharing employee success stories on its website. Each feature includes a biography that highlights an individual's contributions to the company vision. For example, Sarah’s biography describes her successes in public relations and how she develops effective strategies for company clients.
These employee stories show how much everyone is valued and how their efforts contribute to the company’s success. Consider sharing some of your employees' best achievements that align with the vision statement and further the company vision as the organization grows.
The vision statement for companies is important for giving employees a higher purpose for work. It has the power to establish companies as a brand, attract top talent and make sure everyone’s not only aspiring to the same overarching goals, but also feeling the success of reaching them.
The better employees understand and align with the vision statement, the higher the chances of their staying on board and being happier to contribute.