Purpose, Passion, and Productivity
By Ken Keis.
Do Mission, Vision, and Values Affect Employees?
As an OD (organizational development) and HR consultant, I am constantly challenged by business leaders to prove that all their efforts on strategic planning and the development of mission, vision, and values statements have an intrinsic value.
My research established that stated mission, vision, and values do have affect on employees and organizations.
Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, states that to be successful, people must have personal mission statements and clarity of values. Leadership consultant Jim Kouzes, co-author of the book Credibility, conducted research with approximately 4000 employees. His results indicated that supervisors with no or low credibility have a tremendous impact on reducing employee morale, job satisfaction, and productivity.
Training and Development Magazine, published by The American Society for Training and Development, has identified that the “Vision Thing” is important. Most OD consultants agree it is critical to an organizational development strategy to have articulated mission, vision, and values statement.
Investigating Productivity Links
The objective of my research was to investigate how closely personal and organizational productivity is linked to leadership purpose. The objectives were to prove or outline that:
- profit and productivity are linked to the mission, vision, and values statements of an organization;
- companies that do not have or follow an organizational mission statement will negatively effect staff morale and job satisfaction;
- without a vision, hope for the future diminishes and so does employee performance;
- without articulated and followed values, people lack guidelines for acceptable conduct, potentially reducing worker efficiency;
- the competence level of an organization’s supervisors and managers has a tremendous impact on employee job satisfaction, morale, and productivity.
Leadership Purpose Matters
My research survey was completed by 314 individuals responding to 60 questions from five organizations. In three organizations, over 80% of the staff responded; in the other two companies, approximately 90 individuals answered.
The survey addressed three areas of interest: demographics, organizational climate, and employee wants and needs.
As a result of this research, I concluded there is convincing evidence that a strong relationship exists between:
- an organization’s stated or unstated vision, mission, and values; and
- employee morale, job satisfaction and productivity, and quality of work done.
Below, I discuss two of the five conclusions substantiated by my research.
Companies that do not have or follow an organizational mission statement negatively affect staff morale and job satisfaction.
Staff agreement to the statement, “This organization’s mission, vision, and values are important to me,” ranged from 92% to 97%. Staff obviously believe it is critical that their organization not only has clarity on its mission, vision, and values but that it actually practices what it has articulated.
When employees were asked if they felt they were part of the vision, only 46% to 66% agreed. This gap of 30% to 50% shows employees on average feel a lot less connected to their respective company’s mission, vision, and values than they would prefer to be.
This gap also related to a negative effect on staff morale and job satisfaction as revealed in the responses to the statement: “The lack of direction in this organization has reduced my productivity.”
- In the best company, 34% of staff felt their productivity had been reduced.
- In the worst organization, 61% felt their productivity had been reduced.
What does it mean when, on average, half the individuals surveyed think their productivity is not what it could be?
Does clarity of vision have an impact on productivity?
Another question that linked into this matrix was, “Does our organization practice what is in our mission and values statements?” Evidently the companies surveyed do not practice what they preach. The most positive response was from Company B where 40% disagreed, while in Company C up to 70% disagreed.
Those results definitely challenge the leadership credibility in all these companies.
Does this affect job satisfaction?
Organizations without a vision and plan to get them where they want to go diminish hope for the future, which curtails employee performance.
To achieve peak performance, employees need to know where their organizations are going.
“Because our organization knows where it is going, I feel motivated to do quality work.” From one-third to two-thirds of the staff said they were not motivated to do quality work. By contrast, those same people measured the importance of quality to them at a resounding 90 to 95 points out of 100.
I was able to see, then, that when an organization is vague about its future, employees decrease the quality of their work.
Furthermore, “I am frustrated by the lack of direction in my organization” produced positive responses ranging from 47% to 76%. Respondents obviously were frustrated by the lack of direction. This data in itself supports the theory that clarity of the future is important; otherwise individuals would not be frustrated by the lack of clarity.
Another item links the data to employee productivity. “My productivity could improve if work objectives and expectations were more clearly defined.” That takes the direction theory to the micro level for each employee; statistics bolster the importance of clarity of direction, especially at a micro level. The survey in the five companies revealed that 62% to 85% of respondents said they could improve productivity if they had more clearly defined expectations.
Employees Require a Vision for the Future
All in all, the data affirms that employees not only require a vision for the future, they require a specific plan with clearly expressed expectations. We can only conclude that the lack of a vision and a mapped plan to achieve the vision costs businesses a significant amount in lost productivity.
Ken Keis is the president and CEO of Consulting Resource Group in Abbotsford, B.C. (www.crgleader.com). He can be reached at (604) 852-0566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.