How to Get Your Team to Adopt Your Company Vision While Supporting Company Culture
By Stephanie Monge-Sherman
A company vision can be incredibly abstract and hard to put into perspective, but it’s also key for a company’s success. After all, if you don’t know where you want to go, it’s pretty tough to get there. Once you’ve accomplished the (not insignificant) task of setting out your company vision and identifying the steps to get there, it’s time to get your team on board. Leadership alone can’t produce results; cohesive teamwork at all levels is absolutely necessary, no matter the objective or the size of the company.
It’s no easy feat to get your team to adopt the company vision and to support it, but it’s well worth the effort: 39% of employees with a purpose will stay at their company for 3+ years, 73% of them are satisfied with their job, and in recent years, 58% of companies with a clear purpose experienced growth of more than 10% (Imperative, 2016).
Company visions are important for keeping employees engaged and challenged, while also lining up the company for growth and success. The tricky part is that it can often require a significant culture change in order to get employees on board and trusting in leadership. If you’re having a hard time getting your employees to buy into your company vision, these six tips are key to cultivating the necessary culture change that allows for your company vision to succeed and thereby keep your company on track for growth.
1. Give the Why
A compelling way you can get your team behind your company vision is if they know what it is and why they should support it. Giving them the “why” is absolutely crucial, and it’s impossible to enact culture change without it. While some employees may follow blindly, most people want to know exactly how a change will improve their jobs and their company, and how it will make their lives better.
Most likely, your company vision will do exactly that for them and more, so it’s important to be able to lay it out for them clearly and concisely. Clarity is crucial: most employees (71%) don’t even know their company’s mission, and 68% of employees aren’t motivated by it (Achievers Corp, 2015). If your employees don’t understand the vision, they can’t support it. If they don’t see how it will benefit them, they won’t support it. Understanding the reasoning behind the vision can help encourage them to adopt it and support it in their day-to-day, because a company vision is meaningless without the everyday actions and support that make it possible.
2. Allow for Collaboration
While you want your company vision to be clear and well-thought out, there should be room for collaboration and modifying the plan of action. If you have a smaller team, allowing them to contribute ideas to the vision and the steps to carry it out can help them get behind it more. Asking for feedback from your team, listening to input, and modifying the vision with suggestions from employees goes a long way to showing them the company values their contributions and wants their help and acceptance of the vision. It can also help significantly with overall employee engagement, trust, and talent recruitment. After all, a transparent company with clear, concise communication that allows employees to contribute will help with a culture change that’s undeniably attractive to potential employees; in fact, the top 20% of employees consider corporate culture as a top criterion in deciding where they want to work (Dvorak & Pendell, 2018), and there’s no denying that top talent can only benefit your organization.
3. Make it Motivating
Like most things in life, they key to get people to do things are incentive and reward. It would be a lot easier if employees simply adopted the company vision for the sake of the company’s success, but sometimes they need a little motivation and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s healthy. And when you’re dealing with something as abstract and long-term as a company vision, it’s smarter to offer up more immediate and frequent rewards to incentivize employees (Woolley & Fishbach, 2018). By tying the success of the company vision to tangible goals, you make the company vision at lot more real and an integral part of the employee’s day-to-day tasks. Reframing the vision this way makes it easier to encourage support of the vision, while making it more likely to be carried out.
4. Lead the Way
Following through with what leadership commits to is always key, no matter the context or company. It’s no exception when it comes to adopting the company vision, and this might require a tough-to-swallow culture change at some companies. Employees need to see leadership embodying the company vision at every step, or they won’t support and push it themselves.
Every company initiative, every incentive, every leadership move should be in support of the company vision, or employees will sense hypocrisy. This is more important than ever when you consider that 1 in 3 employees don’t trust their employers (Edelman, 2016). They need to feel like everyone is in it together, or the initiative will fall flat on its face.
5. Create Excitement
People like seeing success, and they respond positively to success stories (Heathfield, 2020). When an initiative starts to succeed, it’s exciting and makes you want to ensure its continued success. If you want employees to buy into your company vision, get them excited. Share success stories regularly, especially if they highlight an employee contributing to the success, provide timely and regular updates on progress, and watch as the excitement becomes contagious and more and more employees begin to adopt and support your vision and allow for positive culture change.
Another way to bolster the success of your company vision is to ensure your employee’s values align with your company values, and this starts in the hiring process. Make sure you find employees that can get behind your company vision from the get-go, because just as excitement is contagious, so is scepticism and it’s easier to start fresh than to change the minds of cynical employees. Ensuring you have a supportive, engaged team surrounding you is a huge step in gaining support for the company vision.
6. Keep it Visible
“Out of sight, out of mind” is especially important when it comes to company vision. As stated earlier, an alarmingly high proportion of employees don’t even know their company vision or mission, which makes it incredibly challenging to enforce or succeed. Keeping the company vision visible doesn’t mean drilling it into your team’s heads every day; there are fun, exciting ways to keep it at the forefront of their minds like challenges, games, and weekly meetings. It can be as simple as asking an employee to show how they exhibited the company vision at the start of each team meeting and offering a small prize.
If your commitment to making company vision clarion to your talent falls by the wayside, your vision—and your company—will falter. Reminding teammates why each initiative or task aligns with the company vision is critical, as is showing it in action regularly and seeing the “score”. This ties in with the last point about creating excitement: people want to see the results of their efforts and know where they are in terms of reaching their goals.
There’s no denying that a clear, easy to understand company vision is an important part of any organization and a factor of success. It’s also clear that without employee support at all levels, a company vision can be meaningless. No one “trick” will enable employee support: it requires an authentic, multifaceted approach to increase trust from employees and to lay out a clear plan.
Companies need to be straightforward and honest: they need to listen to feedback from the team, they need to lead by example and follow through, and they need to track progress and reward as often as possible. Companies should allow for culture change that offers a community, team-based approach to supporting the company vision, because unless employees feel that they’re part of the greater good and an important contributor to the success of the company, results will be siloed and disappointing.
Imperative. (2016). Purpose at Work. Retrieved from: https://cdn.imperative.com/media/public/Global_Purpose_Index_2016.pdf
Achievers Corp. (2015). The Greatness Gap: The State of Employee Disengagement. Retrieved from: http://go.achievers.com/rs/136-RHD-395/images/Greatness-report-UK.pdf
Dvorak, N. & Pendell, R. (2018, June 28). Culture Wins by Attracting the Top 20% of Candidates. Retrieved from: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/237368/culture-wins-attracting-top-candidates.aspx
Woolley, K., & Fishbach, A. (2018). It’s about time: Earlier rewards increase intrinsic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114(6), 877–890.
Edelman. (2016). 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer. Retrieved from: https://www.scribd.com/doc/295815519/2016-Edelman-Trust-Barometer-Executive-Summary
Heathfield, S. (2020). Do Your Employee Stories Strengthen Your Work Culture—Or Not? Retrieved from: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-stories-strengthen-your-work-culture-or-not-1918812