Vision, Mission & Values: A Practical Case Study

In my last blog, ‘Vision, mission and values: what are they and do we really need them?’, I talked about the important role that a clearly articulated vision, mission and values statement plays in engaging your people (and also your customers for that matter).

If you want your employees to enjoy working in and care about the business as much as you do, you need to share your vision and mission with them and, just as importantly, they need to understand your values in how things get done.

About 18 months ago, one of our clients went through a turbulent time in their business following the loss of a key client, and several redundancies unfortunately resulted.  Unsurprisingly, this caused a shockwave amongst the team, not least because the company had only experienced steady and sustained growth since it was formed some years before.  The shock and disengagement played out in the performance of the team as a whole and also in the behaviours of a number of employees.

Rather than letting the rot set in, the Senior Leadership Team immediately recognised they had to do something if they were to get the business back on its feet and take everyone with them.  They’ve done various things over the last year or so, but the first exercise they carried out was a review of their vision, mission and values statement as they felt it no longer reflected what they wanted to achieve for the future and how things should be done.

They invited several people from across the business, from shop floor to management, to participate in an Away Day, during which they considered and debated as a group what the updated statements should look like.  Before the event, the participants were asked to get feedback from their colleagues and bring this along for discussion and inclusion.

At the end of the process and with the involvement of their people, the business had a fully refreshed vision, mission and values statement.  But then what?

The statement was advertised in all the obvious places: the company website, intranet and notice boards, but this simply wasn’t enough.  The SLT understood that if they wanted their people to buy into and deliver the vision, mission and values, a lot more work was needed to incorporate them into the day-to-day operations of the business.

A number of activities followed, one of which was a Team Values Day, where every employee participated in a group event focused on sharing the new values and setting the standards of behaviour and performance that were expected going forward.  The event was also used as an opportunity to get different work groups together (this rarely happened but has since continued) and have some fun away from the daily grind.

Part of the Team Values Day included asking the groups to think about each of the company values and how they could be positively demonstrated in the workplace.  In turn, this feedback was used to create a “Behaviours Charter”, which has since been adopted into day to day people management practices to encourage open and honest conversations about employee conduct.  The Charter has also been incorporated into the Performance Review Process, with employees being held as much accountable for their behaviour as much as their work performance.

The Recruitment Process has since had an overhaul, with the inclusion of values-based questions in each and every interview, which hold as much importance in assessing the candidates’ work ethic as their technical capability.

In the monthly Newsletter, each member of the SLT provide a business update in relation to their own division and use this as an opportunity to recognise when someone has demonstrated one or more of the values in carrying out their work.  Employees are also encouraged to nominate their colleagues for a “shout out” in the Newsletter when they’ve gone above and beyond in providing help and support to others.

When I recently spoke to one of the Directors, she reported that, although there’s still plenty more work to do and it’s a continual process, the most rewarding outcome for the SLT so far has been hearing their people refer to the vision, mission and values in their everyday conversations.  It seems like a lightbulb has been switched on and the team has finally adopted them as part of working life.

These are just a few ideas on how you can revitalise your vision, mission and values – time to get creative!  But if you just don’t know where or how to start, please get in touch – we can help.



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