20 November 2017

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Creating a “Monday Morning High – Friday Evening Blues” Workplace Engaging Employees in Small Enterprises

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With this article, we start a new series highlighting things that small enterprises can do to engage their employees, create a great place to work and build high performance teams committed to the organizations goals.

A Powerful & Compelling Vision

Engagement of employees is all about their commitment to the organization and a willingness to perform beyond expectations, passionately giving their best against all odds. It has been found that a powerful vision by the founders / promoters is often a compelling reason for people to join an organization and give their best at the workplace. In larger organizations, it is the ability of the team leader or functional leader to provide a clear vision of the function to the team members that often makes the teams successful. We have seen how coaches of sports teams inspire their teams by showing them a picture of what success would look like and mean to them.

Vision Vs Mission

A vision is a picture of the future – if you were to take a photograph of your business in the future, five or ten years from now, what would it look like. It is beyond the mission, which is the purpose or the reason for the existence of the business. In short, we can say that the vision is the “What” while the mission is the “Why” of the business.

The vision explains what the future will look like and need not be restricted to a few words. You could paint a picture of happy customers, growth & development for employees, how sales would look like or any other focus areas like innovation, market leadership, disruption or change. Some important components of a vision statement may include Customers, Products or Services, Employees, Markets, Technology, Values, Philosophy, Concern for the Community or the Planet, Competition, etc. Some organizations have a vision statement in the form of a tagline, while others have a full paragraph defining the vision. Most organizations involve various stakeholders and business leaders in the creation of the vision statement – the very process of being involved in creating it makes them feel an ownership of the vision.

While creating a vision statement for your organization, ask the following questions:

-          Does the vision provide a powerful image of what you want to achieve?

-          Is the vision inspiring for you and for others in your team?

-          Does the vision make you passionate and give you (and your people) energy to come to work everyday?

-          Will the vision provide you necessary direction and guidance when you feel you are lost?

-          Does it highlight the priorities for the organization?

-          Are the business values infused / implied in the vision?

-          Is the vision statement clear, concise and easily understood by all?

 

Here are some examples of powerful vision statements that have taken these organizations to great heights.

Microsoft (in the past): “A personal computer in every home running Microsoft software”

Google: “To organize all of the data in the world and make it accessible for everyone in a useful way” (Earlier: “To provide access to the world’s information in one click”)

Visa Inc.: “To be the best way to pay, and be paid, for everyone, everywhere.”

Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Lego: “Inventing the future of play” We want to pioneer new ways of playing, play materials and the business models of play – leveraging globalization and digitization…it is not just about products, it is about realizing the human possibility.

FedEx: “FedEx will produce superior financial returns for shareowners by providing high value-added supply chain, transportation, business & related information services through focused operating companies. Customer requirements will be met in the highest quality manner appropriate to each market segment served. FedEx will strive to develop mutually rewarding relationships with its employees, partners & suppliers. Safety will be the first consideration in all operations. Corporate activities will be conducted to the highest ethical & professional standards.”

FedEx statement is a combination of a vision and mission statement. Since it is a future-oriented mission statement, it also qualifies as a vision statement.

Communicating Your Vision

It is not important just to have a good vision statement – it is equally important for the leaders to communicate the vision effectively to employees which will make them give their best in achieving this vision. History has shown us that a few visionary leaders could lead nations and communities to success, not only by having a powerful vision, but also communicating their vision in a manner that made millions enroll into that vision. Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have a Dream” and Gandhiji’s vision of a free India are exemplary in this regard.

So, to engage your employees, go ahead and create a powerful vision & communicate this vision to the teams – communicate it often, in a manner that every person in the organization not just knows the vision but eats, breathes and lives the vision.

Employees are not driven, nor retained by fun at work activities or Friday night pub parties or by desk-decorating competitions. The best way to energize them and be with you for a long time, is to make them passionate about the vision and make them feel that it is indeed “their vision”. This is one of the best ways to make your company a ‘great place to work”.

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Anju Bhatia is the founder of Light of Leadership, a leadership development & HR consulting organization. She has over 22 years of work experience in establishing, leading and managing L & D functions in multi-national organizations like Accenture, Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered Bank and Capgemini. As founder of Light of Leadership, she trains leaders and consults small enterprises in establishing HR policies & processes to hire, train and manage talent at all levels in the organization.

 
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