Written by: Max Woolf
Even if your company offers some great office perks and a great compensation package, the majority of your employees are still likely to quit right after they hit a one-year mark.To get your people to stay for the long haul, you want to make your company vision a focal point of your engagement strategy
.The problem?Most organizations struggle with engaging their employees purely because it is a highly complex concept, as Gallup’s 2017 report
The good news is that all is not lost.In this article, you will learn about a management framework that will help your company build a culture of engagement
and empower your employees to deliver their full power to your business.
The Power of Vision Alignment
In the early stage of the business lifecycle, most company founders have a lot of passion for their side hustle
. It is what makes them sustain a death-march pace working all day and all night.But as the company matures with more people joining it, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the entire organization engaged
, and moving towards the same thing aligned with the original vision.Now, you might ask, Is it really crucial for employees to be aligned with the company vision?The answer is, Absolutely.Because for people, it is hard, if not impossible, to be interested in an organization if they are not aware of what it does and why it does it.This is particularly true for millennials that have a tendency to care more about purpose than a paycheck
.People do not want to work for some huge money-making corporation headquartered in Kentucky. They want to work on something, which is inspiring and great.—Aleksandra Włodarczyk, HR Specialist / Recruiter at Zety.Starbucks is a prime example of how company vision can be used to create a sense of purpose for employees.Their vision is To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.As you can see, Starbucks is not saying that they want to produce the best coffee on the planet. Instead, they want to connect with their customers through a cup of coffee.And in pursuit of that vision, Starbucks managed to hire the best people and inspired them to be great.That is why leaders must to talk the talk and walk the walk on their vision to encourage its employees to stay on board and help the company reach its true north.
Vision Is Not Just Another Word on the Wall
All too often, companies paint their vision on the wall or put in on the poster expecting everyone to follow.In reality, it never works.Donald Sull’s research found that 60% of managers
surveyed were not able to name their company’s primary goals. Also, 50% of employees
argue they are not aware of the expectations toward them in the workplace.So, what is the solution?Communicate your vision, professed values, and company culture
through every medium possible—in person, email, all-hands meetings—long past the point where it gets boring to your employees.People perceive information in different ways, which is why continually using every medium possible is the only way for your employees to start to internalize and understand where your organization is headed.And at a rapidly growing company, this is something that is going to inspire your future torch carriers and keep people engaged in the workplace.Related: The Complete Company Culture Guide for 2019
OKRs: The Ultimate Tool to Fix Employee Engagement
There are a lot of companies
that use OKRs like LinkedIn, Adobe, and GoPro.If you are not familiar with OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), it is a management system developed by Andy Grove from Intel designed to promote engagement by helping employee relate more to the company vision.With OKRs, each and every employee defines their own quarterly goals that are tied to the team’s and ultimately the organizational goals. This alignment packs power and efficiency.Now, why are OKRs the ultimate tool for employee engagement? Being accessible across all teams and departments, OKRs let everyone see what their colleagues are doing and how they are performing; They ensure employees understand what is expected of them; Regular OKR check-ins between the manager and the direct report allow for continuous feedback and support along the way; And most importantly, they enable everyone in the organization to be aligned with the company vision and goals.
Andy Grove’s formula revolves around two things designed to challenge and engage teams: (1) What one wants to achieve— Objectives
& (2) How one will measure the achievement/results— Key Results.
Need an example? Here are sample OKRs for staffing and training. Objective: Successfully Implement OKR framework. Key results:
Engage 100% of employees in OKR implementation workshop.Get at least 75% of positive feedback after two months of implementation.Reduce the OKR training process for new employees by two days.Now, OKRs are not a silver bullet for employee engagement if used incorrectly.First, OKRs are not supposed to be easily achievable. They need to be ambitious, as otherwise, they will stall people in the long run. In Google’s book on the philosophy
, they state, We set ourselves goals we know we can’t reach yet because we know that by stretching to meet them we can get further than we expected.Secondly, OKRs cannot be changed from week to week during the quarter—they need to stay put and act as beacons.In the end, OKRs help employees become aligned with your company vision because they give meaning. Your people will know that they are working toward something that is more important than delivering on a task or hitting yet another sales target.
Adding It All Up
Keeping your employees glowing can be overwhelming.But if you take the time and effort to over-communicate your vision and set shared goals, you will give your people a sense of purpose.And that will result in a highly engaged environment with teams ready to help your organization reach its true north.