We have been working with a number of clients to help them understand their organisations’ brand and how this impacts on both who they attract to the organisation and on who chooses to leave/remain. One consistent message from all those that remain committed to the organisation is that they understand their role and can see the impact that they have. Links between commitment to the organisation and employee turnover have been explored by many researchers and it is clear that organisational communication and relationships with managers also have a part to play here. We can clearly see from responses in employee engagement surveys that improving line of sight (or understanding impact) for employees improves engagement across the board.
Thinking about developing line of sight we have suggested three key areas for managers to communicate to employees in order to help them understand their impact:
Communicate a clear mission and vision.
This doesn’t mean that you should go around reciting some long, detailed plan. Use something short, direct, and memorable. I spent a quick minute researching mission statements, and I found a few inspiring examples:
- South West Airlines: The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.”
- Coco Cola: “To refresh the world; to inspire moments of optimism and happiness; to create value and make a difference.”
- Zappos: “To provide the best customer service possible.”
By understanding very clearly what your company is all about, it’s much easier to understand how your work makes a difference. If your organisation doesn’t have a simple mission and vision, then there is nothing stopping you creating one for your team. Once you clarify the overall purpose of the organisation, employees can begin to understand their individual impact on the whole.
Recognise individuals efforts.
And be specific. Recognition provides the perfect opportunity to clarify the impact an individual has made. Let them know exactly what they did well and why it mattered. The detail makes the recognition more meaningful and memorable and will encourage continued strong results.
Put this into context.
Employees appreciate knowing how their efforts made a difference today, and they also need to know how their efforts made a difference in the long run. In performance reviews, discuss the impact of your employees’ work on the organisation in the short and long term. This will also help to engage employees in the future plans and goals of the organisation as well as confirming the impact they have on the day to day running of the business.
Taking the time to explain how your employees’ work made a difference costs you very little time but can yield big rewards in terms of employee engagement. Once you start to take these small steps they will become a natural way of working which can make a big difference in your employees’ understanding of their impact on the company. It also gives you the opportunity as a manager to impact on your individual employees.
What action would you recommend managers take forward to help employees understand their impact?
For more information on engaging employees, contact us on +44 (0) 1255 850051.