When I sit down with business leaders to discuss their Employee Engagement Program I always begin with identifying the objective for the program. The reason – a clear vision statement is the cornerstone to any Employee Engagement Program. It sums up all values and behaviors within the organization as well as inspires and empowers employees. Plus, it’s a powerful tool used to attract like-minded loyalists to the organization, and equally important, it places a roadblock for potential new hires that don’t share your beliefs.
How can you create a clear objective for your Employee Engagement vision statement?
- Avoid the least common denominator vision statement:
It is in the Employee Engagement vision statement where we create the framework for how employees will accomplish this new engaged aspect of your company. But too often I see companies utilize overly generic language when crafting the vision statement. The key is to inspire those that are best suited for your organization, which will thereby attract more like-minded individuals to join the organization through referrals and word of mouth. The vision statement should make the company stand out strategically within the industry. Clearly define your ideals and beliefs – it’s what makes the organization unique!
- Find your foundation for success:
Often times, employee engagement vision statements are the sole creation of mid to senior level management. However, the most effective vision statements are created with the help of front-line employees. This builds a foundation on which everyone feels empowered to create an environment that promotes employee enrichment. Best of all, it creates a company-wide understanding of the organization’s goals (something everyone can rally behind).
- Create purpose for every employee:
One of the most important aspects of an Employee Engagement Program is recognition. It creates constant visibility for the program, allowing a full circle of reinforcing the program from vision to recognition and back. Managers and employees learn from each other and, the organization discovers which behaviors are most valued by employees and customers.
- Quantity v. Quality:
There is an old saying, “it is not the quantity but the quality of knowledge which determines the mind’s dignity.” The employee engagement vision statement defines the direction of your organization and should invoke a sense of trust and confidence. It should align your employees around a common purpose, and engage their belief that how you perform your work is as important as what work you accomplish. Just don’t overdo it – the vision statement needs to be as long as is required for the organization to explain its vision. No more, no less.
- The vision should be malleable:
I’m often surprised to learn that many managers believe creating an Employee Engagement Program is a one-time endeavor. Once a program is put into place it remains unchanged over time. If the points above tell us anything, it is that behaviors change and so must the vision of the organization. No Employee Engagement Program can be static. Engagement levels by employees are always in flux and can be influenced by many factors, both internal and external to the organization.
Employee engagement requires not just a deep commitment but a willingness to want to create a work environment that matters to all employees. It is the creation of the vision statement that provides the roadmap for the managers to follow and make the subsequent program succeed.