Here at DNA, we have had growing requests recently from both clients and prospects who feel that now is the time to revisit their vision, mission and values. There are a number of factors driving this, which some of you may recognise in your business.
Put simply, the old vision and values are out of date. They may have been conceived pre-COVID in a world where hybrid or remote working barely existed, where AI was still in its infancy or where diversity, engagement and enablement of all employees was not necessarily an integral part of the HR plan. In a changing world, your vision, mission and values have to be current, relevant and effective. It’s a non-negotiable.
Employee expectations have changed since COVID. Now more than ever, talented staff have high expectations of their employers with regards to their vision, mission and values. They see the value in their talent and seek meaning in their work. If they don’t see and share your purpose – and their part in it – they’ll choose to take their talent elsewhere. People deserve and expect to be led effectively so a clear vision and mission are integral. Equally, people expect clarity on the cultural and behavioural pillars that characterise the journey – what is important and why. They also demand clarity and authenticity, where who and what you say you are matches the internal reality. If your respective value sets coincide, great things can happen.
Many organisations are seeking to drive sustained top and bottom-line growth, but with relatively fewer employees. That means ensuring efficiency and productivity gains and ensuring that everyone is on message. Put simply, your staff at every level understand what it is you want and need them to be at work and why – and leaders and managers understand their responsibilities and fulfil them in their actions to deliver the employment experience to enable that.
Customer expectations are changing, too. It’s your staff who deliver on the promises you make to customers every day and if you’re not providing the necessary level of customer experience and service then they will find someone who can.
Like it or not your company culture is something that already exists. The issue at hand is whether it’s the culture you want in place, is it the best it can be, does it serve the needs of the staff, the customers and the bottom line?
With a clear set of values in place – ones that are lived, recognised and respected – you can ensure a robust and sustainable foundation to define, implement and celebrate the culture that will deliver business success.
94% of employees say that a clear vision and mission are important to their job satisfaction.
Companies with a strong mission statement are 33% more likely to have high employee engagement.
Companies with a clear vision are 12 times more likely to achieve their goals.
Companies with strong values are 60% more likely to have a loyal customer base.
The vision and mission are generally gleaned from speaking with the senior leaders in the business during one-to-one sessions, whereas the values will be formed based on results from a dedicated survey that ensures everyone across the business has a voice, and/or discussions with representative groups of employees through workshops and focus groups sessions. Therefore, the golden rule is that the vision and mission development need to follow a top-down approach, whereas values need to be bottom-up.
People will always emotionally engage with the ‘why’ above the ‘what’ you do. What are you here for and why does it really matter? A strong purpose will unite and inspire your staff to achieve both pride and fulfilment in the great work you do together – and in particular, the impact you have on the lives of your various stakeholders.
We describe this as your preferred state of the future. What do you want the organisation to be like in the future?
This is the ‘how’ you will achieve the vision? What do you do? Who for? And how is it characterised?
What your staff bring to work every day to get the job done. The behavioural compass that underpins the culture and how you interact with each other, customers and the world beyond.
This is key. Investing in and articulating your vision, mission and values is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Clear, measurable objectives should be set at the outset of the programme, as well as specific metrics that should be worked towards in order to deliver success.
The development of your new vision, mission and values needs to be based on a foundation of fact to ensure that all decisions are informed.
Firstly, we would suggest meeting with key senior stakeholders on a one-to-one basis and conducting workshops or focus groups with a representative group of existing staff across the business. Partly to hear their views on the journey so far and the journey to come, but also as visible proof of the intent to change.
We would then suggest running an all staff values survey to ensure that everyone has a voice and to fully understand their perception as to what the culture is, the ways of working and the spirit that flows through the people and their interactions.
We know that this feedback provides invaluable insight across the company as a whole and within designated groups differentiated by location, role, department and length of service. Valuable verbatim quotes can also be gathered during this stage to use as testimonial material for future workstreams.
From the discovery exercise, the vision, mission and values can be clearly defined to help drive a unified, forward-facing business, while also helping to create the perception of an attractive employer in the external talent market.
In this element of the programme, a range of creative options for the vision, mission and values are developed with rationales for review and discussion. They are assessed, refined and reviewed until they are authentically you, sense checking and validating these with the key stakeholders and representative staff to ensure they are relevant and authentic. A final version can then be finessed, then presented back to the team. Once defined, it’s then time to work on the launch and implementation – the research should inform how they are shaped and shared.
Launching your new vision, mission and values is a unique opportunity to recognise ‘what’s got you to here’ and, critically, set the expectation and context for the journey to come with clarity, focus and some excitement. It should be an inclusive, engaging and motivating watershed moment.
Vision, mission and values are just words on a poster if you don’t work hard to embed them at every stage on the employment lifecycle. Right from setting your reputation upstream in talent markets, to attraction, onboarding, induction, personal development, recognition and more.
Your staff will be clear on what they need to bring to work every day to get the job done and invest in the culture you are evolving. Equally, your managers will be aligned and equipped to deliver the employment experience that enables that success.
The discovery will give us a unique insight into both the greatest opportunities and potential pitfalls in how values are embedded and understood.
Vision, mission and values are good business and therefore require good business planning around them. Clear objectives and robust implementation. Having set those objectives it’s important to measure the effectiveness of the execution and adapt/finesse as necessary.
The process typically takes anywhere between 4 to 12 weeks, dependent on the amount of discovery needed and stakeholder availability for the discovery sessions, presentations, validation and feedback, and final sign off.
All decisions throughout the process should be based on a solid foundation of fact. To be truly authentic, the values need to be built from the bottom-up using all staff surveys and focus groups. This will also ensure that every employee across the business has a voice and is involved in the creation of the new values. Additional focus groups can also be used to verify and validate throughout the process, ensuring the authenticity hasn’t been lost. They can also help to gain buy in and sign off the final version.
Implementation should be internal before it goes external. Your people need to buy into, understand, live and breathe the new vision, mission and values if they are to be able to become its articulate and effective advocates.
The launch is always a great opportunity to generate pride and engagement and to generate a connection with all existing employees. This could be done via a presentation, a video or animation or a launch event if budget allows. Every business is different, and every situation is different. We can discuss the best way to launch for your business so that people can easily understand the new vision, mission and values, why they’re important and how they will make a difference.
We launched the new Infinis values to truly bring them to life in the hearts, minds and actions of all their employees. We developed a competition where teams had to complete a number of problem solving challenges each centred around a value.Find out more
To launch the NMR values effectively to their managers, we gathered them together in one location for a conference and created a competitive game – The Milk Race – where success relied on deploying the values at every stage.Take a look
We created short, succinct animated films that brought the development of NMR’s new mission statement and values to life in an engaging and memorable way.Watch the video
“In a changing world, your vision, mission and values have to be current, relevant and effective. It’s a non-negotiable.”
John Tarrant – Managing Partner - DNA
To ensure the new vision, mission and values are fully embedded, lived and understood by everyone in the business, especially leaders and managers, it is important that they are discussed and interacted with regularly. Awareness needs to be high and they should be celebrated at every opportunity.
Superdry’s culture playbook ensures that no matter where you are in Superdry, employees can articulate the culture, clearly understanding what is expected of them every day.Find out more
We brought the BNP Paribas brand to life internally and reinforced the company values in an engaging and professional way by developing a yearbook and enhancing the office branding.Take a look
We helped to establish a culture for a brand-new company and brought this to life through a values booklet and office branding.Read this case study
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