Give employees a sense of purpose to have the fastest rowing boat

We know we need to deliver the kind of top-tier financial results our investors, associates, and all our stakeholders expect. And we also know something else. We know we need to do it with a sense of purpose, a moral compass, guiding our way.

– Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer 1

When people have a sense of purpose, they genuinely work hard and commit themselves. A company’s vision, mission, and values (MVV) are imperative as they provide employees with a sense of purpose. A company’s MVV should not exist only on paper, rather act as a guiding hand for employees. Peter Drucker states: The mission statement has to express the contribution the enterprise plans to make to society, to the economy, to the customer.”2

At first, a properly designed and implemented MVV keeps the entire organization on track towards a single goal. Aligning employees with the company’s MVV helps them to carry out difficult situations with greater ease. Moreover, contributing to the company’s vision and mission gives a sense of accomplishment to the individual. The employees are the individuals rowing a boat. The boat moves fastest when all are in perfect sync.

Why Should a Company Ensure an Aligned Workforce?

Human beings have long been looking for the sense of purpose of life and there is no reason to believe this quest will cease to exist. In today’s world, people look for meaning in their respective jobs. They look for a company that has a grand vision. This vision gives employees a purpose and they subsequently try to help their company achieve the same. Thus, creating a vision that everyone in the company knows about, becomes a priority.

Does aligning your workforce to your company’s sense of purpose really yield the results?

According to Globoforce survey, 88% of employees showed an increased engagement once they got to know and understand the company’s value.3 Furthermore, it also came out that only 27% of employees believed in their company values. In the same study, it was also stated that as little as 23% think or apply the projected values in their daily work lives.4  In a research report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2013, it was found that 45% and 41% of employees respectively indicated that ‘corporate culture’ and ‘meaningfulness of the job’ was considered significant for job satisfaction.Thus, it is important to formulate and subsequently synchronize the company MVV with overall planning and with employees’ job responsibilities.

A 2006 McKinsey study of 800 senior executives stated that “their number one concern with their current strategy-setting processes was their inability to achieve company alignment with the strategic plan.” Perhaps this does not come as a surprise considering that 65% of the companies have a strategy in plan and that only 14% of employees are aware of what it is. This issue is not just being unaware of the company MVV, in other cases even when there was an understanding of the strategy, companies fail to ensure that these are being implemented and executed. As little as 15% of companies actually work towards comparing and tracking the performance with the company plans.6

Trajectory to Fulfillment is By Questioning WHAT and HOW

It is important for a company to continue questioning what and how they are doing things and what and how they wish to do things. The latter part becomes the company MVV. These are important for the employees to have clarity and understand how they should perform their tasks. For instance, the Zappos Vision is “delivering happiness to customers, employees, and vendors” and their mission statement is to “provide the best customer service possible. Deliver WOW through service.”2 Zappos took its time in creating its personal MVV. It asked its employees what they thought the existing values were. After several iterations, Zappos unveiled the ten values that its employees shared.

Once the company vision, mission, and values are set in place and are clearly communicated, the company gets one step closer to creating a perfect workplace experience for its employees, and by implementing this, they ensure employee productivity as well. ­­­­­


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