As a small to medium-sized enterprise owner or senior leader you’ll never be able to compete dollar-for-dollar or perk-for-perk with the goliaths out there. You know you need stellar talent to be able to deliver on your brilliant business concept, but how can you attract (or retain) said talent when entities like Shopify, Facebook, and Google literally have limitless bank accounts to woo any superstar from any field?
Thankfully, extrinsic compensation (salary, perks, bonuses, etc.), although important, are not near the top of the list on what matters most to employees. Atop all of the other reasons on why to work for one organization versus another, there’s a powerful item that actually doesn’t cost your organization anything.
The importance of making a difference.
A recent Inc.com article (https://www.inc.com/guides/2010/08/10-things-employees-want.html) placed the power of purpose as the number one item employees want over anything else (and yes, that does include a hefty paycheque). Employees want the mission or vision they are contributing you to be impactful, and the work they do towards it to be meaningful.
Now, of course you know how world-shattering your organizational vision is, but how can you help someone who doesn’t know you or your business see the light? I’d like to propose a three-pronged approach to help you shape and drive this for your organization.
Make it Tangible. Make it Human: At Wave, a software company in Toronto that builds accounting, payroll, and payments tools for small business owners, it would be, upon a surface level inspection, seemingly difficult to inspire with a product offering centered around the always exhilarating world of accounting. However, it’s not really about accounting. It’s about propelling brave entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and drive the world economy.
That vision of supporting small business owners fuels Wave’s shared values which at their core hold the concept of feeling the burden of the brave entrepreneur. It’s not about accounting or banking, it’s about real humans and the challenges our product can help them overcome.
Whatever your product or service offering is, think about how you can make it human. Touching heart strings matters.
Remember How Marketing Works: Marketers in the ‘30s coined a term known as the 7x Rule. At its simplest level, it articulates that people need to see an ad at least 7 times before it resonates with them in any capacity. 90 years later we live in a much nosier world with massive competition for mind space and attention. Thus, the 7x factor of marketing should be considered a bare minimum in the 2020s.
Articulating your vision once or just putting it on a poster won’t cut it. As a business leader you need to be integrating messages about your vision into everything you do.
Company-wide staff meeting? Talk about how recent initiatives have moved you closer to that vision. Writing on LinkedIn? Share stories about great work your employees did in driving towards that meaningful vision of yours. Posting a job description? You better believe your vision should be in that!
As a senior leader, you’ll know you’re hitting the mark and starting to get your message out there when you yourself are getting sick of hearing it. Push through and keep going though. Repetition repetition repetition.
Get the Team Involved: Regardless of how charismatic and dynamic you are as a leader, the role of Chief Vision Communicator cannot be yours alone. When it comes to getting the masses to connect with your vision you need to think about scale, and scale in this case means every employee (and perhaps some of your customers) supporting the amplification of your message.
To properly scale communication around vision it’s integral to train other leaders on your team around the what, why, and how of your organization’s purpose. What are we trying to accomplish? Why is it important? How are we going to get there? Language and semantics matter here. Equip your team to speak about your vision in the same way you would. As you continue to scale, think about equipping your team with
templates and tools to share and reinforce the vision to their respective networks.
You started your company for a reason. Make sure your employees, prospective employees, and customers have as much passion for your world changing vision as you do! On a personal note, I love chatting with entrepreneurs who are fuelled by a powerful vision. Want to chat about how to scale that to your employees or customers?
Feel free to connect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/joshuasiegal or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joshua Siegal is currently the VP, Organizational Effectiveness at Wave. Wave is an award-winning financial services software company, with more than 250 employees serving entrepreneurs and freelancers around the world. When not driving effectiveness at Wave, Josh is training for his amateur boxing debut as a part of The Fight to End Cancer.
To learn more about Wave’s vision and how we bring it to life visit: