Matt Jackson illustrates how employers can tackle employee disengagement through a shared vision.
Have you ever paid someone to do nothing? Or felt the exhaustion of motivating people all day? What if I walked into your business and asked someone what the company vision was, could they answer without searching your website?
Forbes claims 70% of people are disengaged and uninspired at work. Deloitte’s claims it’s 80%. Either way that’s a productivity and turnover problem that needs to be solved.
The three biggest thorns in an employee’s side are that they don’t like their boss, they don’t feel passionate and their work lacks meaning and purpose. These were the same reasons given ten years ago. So if this is the case why the sudden urgency? Today businesses are asking employees to be more creative and innovative because:
- There is a need to generate momentum to be a market leader
- Disruption has changed the game
- A lack of initiative is holding back growth
- There is a need to compete with smaller agile entrants
- Goals lack ambition and everyone needs to stretch
Whilst the CEO is motivated by these factors individual employees who don’t see the higher purpose in their efforts are stalling on the question, “why”?
The employee has to be able to see “what’s in it for me”? If the vision doesn’t take that into account it isn’t the company’s mission it’s yours. A fully engaged organisation working at optimal levels is constantly balancing the needs of the individual with the needs of the organisation with each serving the other to mutual gain.
Having a vision and sharing a vision are not the same thing. When clients present me with their current vision, values and strategy the first question I ask is “Why would your employees read this”? The answer is invariably either, “because that’s our vision”, or “because I’m paying them to”. The first answer doesn’t explain “why”? and the second actually encourages employees to only be motivated by their paycheck.
I have used the following tactics to help employees buy into a vision;
- Expressed the vision in the context of opportunities for personal growth
- Used visual rather than written representation and allowed individuals to express the vision in their own words
- Developed a narrative rather than a document to give the sense that the vision is evolving rather than fixed and that employees are encouraged to contribute to that evolution
- Presented the vision in a way that stimulates multiple senses using animations, videos or games
When an organisation shares their vision is a way that resonates personally, employees can see the value in it for them and the result is an engaged workforce. Self-motivated employees turn up for more than their paycheck and they take initiative when the boss isn’t there. They are innovative and willing to tackle problems. Passion fuels productivity and the result is increased revenue and efficiency which equals profit.
Having a vision that isn’t communicated in a way that engages at all levels, leaves the leader feeling that it’s each against all and all against each. If the leader feels this way it’s not long before the employees do too. Suddenly an entire organisation believes it’s in their best interest to focus on self-interest. Move the hearts and minds of the organisation around a shared vision and it’s all for one and one for all.
“The greatest barrier to communication is the illusion that it has taken place”. -George Bernard Shaw
Matt Jackson has been the owner and CEO of The Drawing Book Studios for 8 years and is now the founder of affectors, a group of individuals capable of moving hearts and minds.
m: 0421 348 13
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