An introduction to getting staff interested in your vision and values
Engaging staff in your business vision is a great way to foster a strong company culture and get your workforce motivated. By showing people how their work feeds into larger goals, staff will have a clearer understanding of how they contribute to the success of the business.
Research shows that employees with a clear understanding of a company’s vision and purpose are more likely to be fulfilled in their work. However, engagement isn’t something that happens overnight.
Despite the positive impact of getting staff interested in the company’s vision and values, it’s something a lot of businesses struggle with: one in four employees are either indifferent or don’t know much about their company’s vision.
It’s important to make a continued effort to include and incentivise your team, ensuring everyone is working towards the same vision and living the same values.
This guide will explore some of the factors that influence whether staff engage with your vision and values, plus common mistakes businesses make and quick wins for improvements.
What factors affect staff interest in your vision and values?
How relevant the values are
One of the most important steps in getting your team interested in your values is making sure they are relevant and authentic. If your values come across as vague, confusing or out of date, then chances are your employees won’t engage with them.
Taking a step back and assessing how well your values align with your current business is essential if you want to get staff interested. Otherwise, you’ll face an uphill battle.
Levels of communication in the business
The level of staff interest in your vision and values can directly correlate to the levels of communication in your business. How often do staff get updates from the leadership team or context on how their work contributes to the wider business goals?
If your workforce is used to taking a big picture view, they will have a better understanding of how your vision and values relate to them. If not, you may need to work on improving your levels of communication before you try to secure buy-in.
The accessibility of your vision and values
How easy is it for staff to access and understand your vision and values? The accessibility of the information and how available it is will play a large factor in how interested staff will be.
Are your values packed full of industry jargon or acronyms that might alienate new hires? Is your vision squirreled away in a business plan and rarely communicated outside of the management team?
In order to get staff engaged, you need to make sure the information is readily available for them to browse and in a language that they will relate to.
“Revisiting our mission, vision and value statement has helped to revolutionise us as a business. It’s an invaluable experience, but it has to be company-wide. You need to make sure everyone will be on board – it’s a massive part of choosing whether someone’s going to work here.”
Zak Edwards, founder of Prezzybox
The cold hard facts
Common mistakes when getting staff interested in your vision and values
Your vision or values are vague
If you don’t have a clear vision or strong set of values that are specific to your business, it will be hard to get staff interested. Values in particular are an area that can suffer from being overly vague or generic.
If your vision or values aren’t memorable, it can lead to inconsistent communication too. Deviating from the exact wording will dilute your messaging over time, leading to employees zoning out, losing faith or not bothering to engage altogether.
Updates are irregular or reactive
A common mistake when trying to get staff interested in your vision and values is communicating them on an irregular basis, like when something particularly good or bad happens.
Your vision is a great motivating tool to remind staff why they’re working towards a goal, while your values should become an intrinsic part of everything they do. Only reflecting on them in hindsight won’t be enough to make them part of your daily culture.
You’re expecting change overnight
Getting staff interested in your vision and values won’t happen overnight. A company meeting or values exercise can be enough to spark initial interest, but it will take time and repetition to build long-term engagement and get something really bedded into your culture.
Don’t make the mistake of expecting too much from staff straight away or being overly critical if their work isn’t aligned with your values. This will pile on the pressure and they will start to see any changes as a chore, rather than a motivator.
“Values have to become ‘the way we do things around here’. They should empower staff to have more confidence in making decisions for themselves, because they know they won’t be criticised for it.”
Richard Blanford, CEO of Fordway
The cold hard facts
The impact of a clear vision and purpose shouldn’t be underestimated. Studies found that 58 per cent of companies with an articulated, understood sense of purpose experienced over ten per cent growth, compared to just 42 per cent of companies that hadn’t articulated a purpose.
Quick wins to get staff interested in your vision and values
Ask for input from employees
If you’re struggling to get employees interested in your values, consider whether they’re still relevant or if they need rethinking.
If you want to give them a refresh, the best way to get employee buy-in to get them involved from the start. Host a workshop with employees and invite ideas and feedback about how your values could be improved.
It’s okay to overhaul what you’re doing if it’s no longer representative of what you’re working towards. The important thing is that they feel authentic and genuine to your business as it looks now.
Make your vision and values visible
Work with your HR team to find ways you can make your vision and values more visible across the company.
Factoring your values into interview questions and including your vision and values in onboarding materials can go a long way to making sure new hires are invested from day one.
Look at how you can include them in performance appraisals too. A section that reflects on how well employees have “lived” your values will reinforce that they matter.
Speak about them regularly
A quick and easy way to get staff interested is to simply to talk about them more.
If you’re giving a financial update about the company, explain how that contributes towards your vision for success and what you need to do next to achieve it. Talk about how projects fit in with your values or ask staff to list your values at the end of weekly meetings.
Making your vision and values part of everyday conversations will help them to become part of everyday life.
Incentivise and encourage
Establishing a recognition system is an effective way to boost employee interest in your values.
This might be something formal like a monthly rewards scheme that offers a voucher or free lunch to the employee who best reflected your values in the past month. Alternatively, ask managers to informally recognise employees in one-to-ones or team meetings.
The crucial thing here is that you’re acknowledging when people exhibit the kind of behaviour you want to see across the organisation.
“The values also run throughout our recruitment process, so anyone who comes to an interview with us is asked about which core value is most important to them and why. We try and make sure that people are engaged from the start.”
Rob Cole, founder of Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens
The cold hard facts
Now you’ve learnt about what it takes to get staff interested in your vision and values, use our action plan to direct your next steps.