Company Vision and Values
Are You Very Familiar With Them?
Do They Still Matter?
By Colin Toll
People should be familiar with the concepts of a company’s vision and values (V&V). Companies define them in order to represent the organization’s reason for being, its future direction and its values, current and future.
They are designed to cover all employees and to inspire them to work together with a shared set of values. But do they work?
A recent report from the World Economic Forum found that a ‘sense of purpose’ in work is the second most important criteria for millennials considering a job, after salary. As millennials make up the majority of today’s workforce it follows that if candidates for employment in your organization don’t believe or support your company’s mission, vision, and values they won’t sign up and you’ll lose out on good talent.
If you believe that your organization’s vision and values are important to your success it may be wise to test the attitude and knowledge of your employees of your vision and values.
Here is how. Without notice ask our employees to recite, or write down, your published vision and values. Tests such as this have shown that more than half of employees can’t recite their organization’s vision, and nearly half can’t recite their organization’s values.
Employees who don’t appreciate their own company’s purpose cannot be working towards what has been defined as the organization’s reason for being, its future direction and its values
Visions and values are important as we all need a target. But it’s time for a rethink. When was the last time your organization’s V&V’s were refreshed? Are they just words on a wall or words on your website?
I suggest that on a regular basis your V&V’s should be discussed on an employee wide basis. In small organizations this can be done in a face-to-face setting. Large organizations should utilize their IT systems to generate the discussion on a 24/7 basis.
Discussion should be based on the realities of bringing the V&V’s to life. Take “challenge” and “innovation” which are two of the common values across organizations. These are easy to say, but hard to achieve. They rely on having a culture that truly accepts criticism, failure, and disagreement. “Diversity” is another common value. Again, the word typically gets widespread support but putting true diversity of thought and background into action is more difficult.
The values of an organization need to reflect the reality of what it feels like to work in that organization. It is very important to involve all your employees in defining them.
So how can organizations shake things up? Well, they need to encourage people to speak up – and make it safe and convenient for them to do so.
Consider using tech-based platforms to get feedback on what employees do and don’t like about the current values and vision, what does and doesn’t resonate with them and why, and what would inspire them in the future.
With companies increasingly fighting for talent, it’s so important to help our people make their fullest contribution and create a vision and values that inspire, motivate, and drive the right day-to-day behaviours.