In 1962, US President John F. Kennedy paid a visit to NASA’s Head Office. As he was taken on a tour around the facility, he stopped briefly by a man who exactly didn’t look like an engineer. He was a Janitor, carrying a broom around. Curious, Kennedy interrupted his tour and walked over to the man and said “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?
“Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon” Replied the Janitor.
The Janitor was not a rocket scientist, but he clearly saw the connection between his work and the vision statement of NASA at the time, which was to land a man on the moon.
The story above is a clear case of aligning the company vision with employees work. Smart employers are beginning to realise that for workers to work hard enough and be effective and innovative, without any fear of getting fired, the relationship between both parties must not be that of a military-style command, but must be that of an unmistakable and unfeigned sense of belonging. The boss or employee are part of the same team! And they both must understand the direction in which the team is going. This is the first step towards driving employee engagement, which is essential for getting employees to buy into the vision of the company. Peter Stark, a management consultant and author of “Engaged”, defines employee engagement as a state in which “employees are connected both at the head and the heart and they are willing to give what I call discretionary effort, meaning willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done”. Poor customer service, disloyalty, tardiness are symptoms of lack of employee engagement.
Clearly communication the vision and mission of the company and engraving it at the core of the organizational culture gives employees a sense of purpose, direction and belonging. For example telling employees that ‘The whole company is moving from point A to B and this is the role you have to play to ensure that we get there” clearly spells out responsibility and puts them on a mission, where failure is not an option. You unleash the creativity in them and like a captain all your sailors will hoist the mast because they’d know the ship is marked for the Gold coast. All you will need to do is steer the rudder. That is the time to fight the waves with all hands on deck.
According to Joseph Folkman, a contributor at Forbes.com, in an article titled “8 Ways to ensure your vision is valued” there are 8 ways to make your vision just more than words on paper.
- The Vision statement must be Inspiring and Motivating
- Ensure Employees Engagement and Satisfaction is high
- The Vision is communicated through Multiple Channels
- Innovation is used to Create Improvement
- Managers’ Words Lead to Action
- Leaders are open and honest
- The Company is quick to respond to Issues
- People can see the “Greater Good” the Vision Creates
Every employee picks up a job with high hopes of bringing change and brightening their corner. Employers should be able to harness this initial faith and momentum and unleash it to the greater good of all. Employees aspire to be good employers, at least for 99% of the time. If employees are not showing signs of enthusiasm and engagement, it is the duty of management to put in measures to curb it with immediate effect, and one of the things to do is inspire the employees by clearly communicating the company vision in unambiguous terms.
Check out: The Employer’s Duty of Care