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Insync’s not-for-profit benchmark comprising 36,000 responses from 180 studies reveals that only 46% of employees are fully inspired by the vision of their NFP employer. Another 20% are ‘slightly’ inspired, 18% are neutral and 16% are not inspired.
How would you respond if your employee survey came up with a similar result – where only around a half of employees felt inspired by your organisation’s vision?
Does it matter if a large proportion of employees…
… are ambivalent or not inspired by what the organisation is doing?
… do not feel aligned or connected to the fundamental reason the organisation exists?
… are not clear on where the organisation is going, what it’s doing and why it’s doing it?
You probably think that it does matter. But perhaps it matters more than you think?
Quantifying the impact of vision
It seems self-evident that connection with the organisation’s purpose and vision will play a big role in providing employees with meaning, securing their commitment and motivating them to apply discretionary effort to achieve the organisation’s goals. But can this impact be quantified?
By analysing our database of survey results we have been able to quantify the impact that an inspiring vision has on key organisational outcomes.
The quantum of the impact might be a surprise to some readers – it was surprising to us when we conducted the analysis.
Inspired employees are much more likely to recommend the organisation, understand how decisions relate to client needs, feel encouraged to innovate and believe that the organisation is committed to high performance.
The differences between inspired and uninspired employees are not just big, they are huge…
Employee attraction – five times more likely to recommend the organisation as a workplace
84% of inspired employees are likely to recommend the organisation as a workplace, compared with 16% of uninspired employees.
Likelihood to recommend the organisation as a workplace is a key outcome metric, indicating a strong level of advocacy for the organisation. With favourable word of mouth comes greater opportunity to attract (and more than likely, retain) high quality, high performing employees. Clarity and effective communication of an inspiring organisational vision also increases the likelihood that you attract employees who are naturally aligned to the organisation’s purpose; those who are already intrinsically motivated to assist the organisation to achieve its goals.
Client focus – four times more likely to see how decisions relate to client needs
76% of inspired employees consider client needs to feature prominently in decision making, compared with 16% of uninspired employees
Client-centric organisations place the client at the forefront of all decision-making. They consider client needs, interests and feedback in developing, implementing and improving products and services. A truly client-centric organisation delivers a client experience that is aligned with expectations; enhancing engagement and improving client outcomes.
As employees are at the forefront of delivering this client experience, they must be able to make the connection also. Inspired employees feel a sense of connection to where the organisation is going and what it’s doing. They hear and take the time to understand the reasoning behind decisions and how it impacts the client. They’re able to translate these decisions through to the end-user. Uninspired employees are often unclear of the organisation’s direction and don’t take the time to understand why decisions are made. This disconnect can lead to a misalignment with client expectations, often negatively impacting client experience and outcomes.
Innovation – twelve times more likely to feel encouraged to be creative
72% of inspired employees feel encouraged by leadership to think creatively and innovatively compared with 6% of uninspired employees
In an age where change is the norm, looking for new and different ways of doing things is pivotal for an organisation to survive and thrive. Results indicate that leaders who are inspiring employees through vision are also successfully fostering an environment of creativity. Inspired employees feel a much greater sense of encouragement to think differently and innovate. It’s only with this encouragement that new ideas can be formed and brought to life.
High performance – three times more likely to perceive a commitment to high performance
85% of inspired employees perceive expectations of high-performance standards, compared with 25% of uninspired employees
With greater connection to vision comes a greater perceived expectation of performance standards. These results speak to a culture where there is clarity of roles, expectations and how individuals and teams contribute. Only when this clarity exists, and people are accountable to deliver on these performance expectations, can the organisation truly succeed. On the flip side, ambiguity of roles and expectations breeds a lack of individual and team accountability and therefore poor performance standards. It’s all too easy to point the finger, blame others and simply not get things done. This not only kills the potential of an inspiring vision, but organisational culture too.
Vision unlocks performance
Effectively communicating the organisation’s vision provides absolute clarity on why the organisation exists. That’s not just what the organisation does or how it does it, but the fundamental reason it exists. It’s the guiding principle behind all decisions. It’s what aligns and unites employees and teams around a greater purpose; and as we see from this research and significant experience, it impacts many critical organisational outcomes.
Does it matter if only half your employees are inspired by the organisation’s vision? The answer has to be – ‘yes, it definitely does matter’. That is, if high and sustainable performance matters for the organisation.
Download our new employee research on the 7 ways to bring your vision to life.