The Echo coffee break blog is where our Senior Management Team take time out to share their thoughts. This month it's Anna Fell - our Head of People & Development - discussing how Echo's vision, mission and values both engages employees and benefits clients......
Echo's Head of People and Development - Anna Fell.
Having just launched our new vision, mission and values across our seven sites, I’ve taken time out to reflect on the journey that took us to launch, and equally important, I’ve been planning for what happens next, after all the launch is only the first step in our employee engagement journey……..
Preserving our culture as we grow.
It’s been seven months since the Echo management team embarked on the journey of creating a new company vision, mission statement and set of values. Echo is a company which was born out of the UK water industry, but has grown rapidly into new sectors and services. Not only has that brought with it new clients in new sectors, but also Echo teams spread across seven sites. This growth is unlikely to stop or slow down, as we quite rightly have ambitious plans in the years ahead.
Our fear was that this growth could cause the Echo culture to be diluted or even lost, which was the last thing we wanted as the Echo culture is most definitely a great culture, but probably one that was more “felt” by employees and clients, than documented.
Creating our vision, mission and values. Together.
In documenting who we are, what we are about and what we value, there was one thing which was of upmost importance – employee engagement. Our people are the heart of Echo, and our greatest asset in delivering services to clients. It was important to engage employees at all levels of the company, to ensure that our values were created internally. We purposely chose not to use an external consultant as many companies do, as no one can know, understand or feel Echo better than our own people.
Our vision: ‘One Echo, creating opportunities through growth’, emphasises that although we have a diverse service offering which is delivered via multiple sites, location is actually irrelevant. As a client, when you choose Echo, you are choosing end to end customer led solutions and can benefit from ALL our knowledge, expertise and solutions.
Our mission is: ‘staying true to our values, we provide customer led solutions for clients whose principles and beliefs we share. Through the expertise, knowledge and understanding of our people, we collaborate to deliver an enriched customer experience; protecting your brand as if it’s our own.’
This statement reflects Echo’s partnership approach which is actually quite contrary to the approach taken by many outsourced service providers. Let’s be honest, it’s a big thing for clients to trust outsourcers with their customer relationships, and they need to be sure that their chosen partner is going to protect those relationships – and with Echo that’s exactly what you get.
Our values are: integrity, collaboration, empowerment, agility and respect, and to be honest these values are not new, they really just articulate what already happens within Echo, but this just makes them much more visible.
Don’t just proudly hang them on the wall, embed them.
We’ve all seen vision, mission and value statements proudly hanging in receptions and public areas of company buildings up and down the country. Although this is great, and means they are highly visible, equally important is that they are not just seen, but also felt – they must be embedded.
With the launch of a new vision, mission and values, there is the danger that employees see it as the latest HR department or management gimmick, and it can therefore be met with the type of “not another new in thing, it won’t last” type of scepticism I’m sure we’ve all experienced at some point.
It is therefore vital post launch to make some quick wins, and demonstrate they are here to stay.
Communication and engagement.
I really believe that internal communication is the key to employee engagement and embedding the vision, mission, values across the company. An approachable, visible management team, sharing news, wins and stories, and putting in place the tools which encourage employee feedback and management reaction all have a vital role to play.
Why is this important? Because engaged employees drive increased productivity. By engaged, I mean that our employees know where they fit in, they feel valued, they have a voice and that voice is heard. Focusing on our people, and empowering them to improve and make changes is the key to delivering great customer experiences on behalf of our clients.
Follow through across HR Processes.
To stay true to the new vision, mission and values, we must not just take into consideration ‘what’ our employees do, but also ‘how’ they do it, across our recruitment, recognition, performance development and wider HR processes. Living and breathing our culture in our behaviours - led from the top and followed through across the company - is vitally important. This is not something which can be easily implemented, but must become a part of the post launch journey.
So whilst I love the imagery of our new vision, mission, and values and it looks great and engaging, catching the eye is only the first step, now we need to make sure it is understood and we see it in action. It’s all about protecting our culture, engaging our employees and delivering for our clients.
Further suggested reading:
- Agility: The Tower of London Remembers. Echo delivers
- Further details: Echo's Vision, Mission and Values
- Empowerment: Personalised and employee-led learning and development
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