Vision is about what the organisation wants to accomplish; and leadership uses it to inspire, clarify, and focus their people. Managers who can communicate vision and purpose in a way that energises employees will be more likely to have teams who are engaged, collaborative and effective.
It is a key component in employee engagement strategy. Providing information about how the enterprise is doing, corporate vision and strategy is important because employees want to feel involved and want to feel their contribution is recognised.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” Jack Welch, legendary CEO of General Electric.
Frame the narrative
Senior management play an important part in creating a vision for the organisation and sharing it with employees, while being open, transparent, and approachable. Employees want to hear a clearly expressed story of what the organisation is about and where they want to be, and that is aligned with a mission statement that sets out the broad vision, so that they know how they can contribute to that purpose.
This can range from the simple: ‘to be the best at what we do’ or ‘we take every opportunity to go the extra mile for the customer;’ to ambitious: ‘to provide high-quality, client-centred services and proactively enhance our local, national and international reputation’.
So, first you need a compelling narrative about your organisational vision that wins hearts and minds and brings the vision to life for those at the sharp end. This narrative must be simple and easy to grasp; bear in mind that diversity in the organisation means it is possible that English may not be be everyone’s first language.
Then work on communicating this in a succinct and authentic story that resonates with leaders and workers alike. Define the vision and goals so that team members can take ownership – this matters because your vision and mission should empower employees and that means they must take accountability for their part in bringing that vision to life.
Engaged employees are proud of their role with their organisation; this is facilitated because they have a line-of-sight to the organisation’s mission and goals. The idea is to help employees find meaning in their work and this is facilitated through regular communication about the organisation’s vision and future objectives.
A meaningful corporate vision inspires teamwork and cooperation, making employees feel proud to work for their employer and willing to advocate as ambassadors for it. The CIPD point out that “Good employee communication enables employees to stay connected to their workplace, understand their organisation’s purpose and strategy, identify with its values, and develop a sense of belonging by understanding how they contribute to its wider purpose.”
Communicating vision tips:
Top talent will often join an organisation because of the vision and mission statement shared when they take part in the interview process. Communication of vision is built on a shared sense of purpose, with all employees understanding what the organisation wants to achieve.
- Outline organisational direction and purpose with clarity, brevity, and authenticity
- Aim to reflect the strengths, culture, values, beliefs, and direction of your organisation
- Inspire employees to believe they are part of something bigger and that their enthusiasm, energy, commitment, and pride in company are key to success
- Your vision should be reflected in all communications at every level and every day
An effective vision statement means that shared organisational purpose is embedded in the routine of working life. Engagement with vision and behaviours, is measurable through engagement questionnaires, pulse surveys and interactions between stakeholders – aim for indicators that will help you focus on the future.
The topic seems particularly relevant at present given the challenges present by Brexit and the Covid crisis. Those on furlough or working from home can feel isolated and miss the traditional, face-to-face means of communicating and operating effectively. In difficult times, employers need to maintain trust and manage tension by communicating regularly with their employees.
Connection is a basic human need, we don’t want to feel we are nothing but cogs in the machine, resources to be exploited, and we want to be recognised as part of the bigger picture at work. So, we need good communicators who can reach out to employees to build and maintain effective working relationships and trust throughout the organisation.