A lot of people aren’t engaged at work… roughly two-thirds. While the number seems to be improving, only 34% are consistently engaged.* In a more detailed report, the top reasons identified are a misunderstanding of the company vision, lack of taking ownership and limited confidence in executing skills. I bet these are no surprise to you. But, what may be a surprise is how much it affects the bottom line. In the upcoming weeks, I’m going to break down each of these challenges and suggest ways (questions and conversation starters) to address them.
Understanding the Company Vision
Establishing a compelling vision that travels throughout the organization one of the most common challenges we observe. Even if you are a passionate CEO with an innate way to communicate, what you said isn’t always being heard the way you intended. There’s a difference between having a vision and establishing a vision. If the company vision is nothing more than meaningless words thrown on a wall, employees may not feel ownership and disregard it completely. This model may have worked for some, but for everyone else, it’s time to take a different approach.
It Begins With Leadership
Well… actually… it first begins with changing our standard narrative of “leadership”. We believe in a narrative that leadership is not exclusive for those at the top; leaders exists in all reaches of an organization. Whether one is responsible for an entire organization, department, small team or an individual function, the same basic principles of vision, alignment and execution apply. Involving all stakeholders in establishing the organizational vision helps build alignment toward that vision. And by championing the execution of that vision, an organization can begin affecting real change.
The best news! All of this can be realized through a set of best practices and learned behaviors.
Taking On the Challenge
As a first step, consider some of the following questions, focused specifically on Vision.
Upper- Level Managers
Assuming you already have a vision for your company, how have you established that vision in your organization?
If you were to send a survey to your managers, asking them to state the company vision, what percentage would get it right (at least paraphrase it)?
Aligning to the vision means that your managers’ behaviors, actions and key expectations fully support the vision. Assuming your managers know the vision, on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “extremely”), how aligned are they to it?
Do you know your company’s vision?
If you don’t know it, have you attempted find out what it is? Why not?
Do you have your own vision for your department, team or individual function you manage? (even if you don’t manage people you should still have a vision for the individual function or project you manage)
If you have already come up with your own vision, describe how it directly supports the overall company vision.
Hopefully you have already crafted a vision. If not, that obviously comes first. Simply Google “how to craft a company vision” and you’ll find a number of great how-to articles. Here’s a good one: How to Write a Vision Statement for Your Business.
I hope the above questions help you begin thinking about your vision and how well you’ve established it. Having a well crafted AND established vision will give your employees purpose and meaning in work. Then, when employees’s individual goals begin to align with your vision… engagement will increase!
Stay tuned to next week when I’ll dive into the next challenge in employee engagement: taking ownership.