Running a company without a strong mission statement is like launching astronauts into space without destination coordinates. If employees don’t know where they’re going, they easily become aimless and can’t effectively help your organization stay on course and reach its goals. And if they don’t understand how your organization defines success, they’ll never be able to meet expectations, much less exceed them.
Not only does this misdirection impact the overall performance of your company, but it also affects employee satisfaction.
According to a 2016 Society for Human Resource Management report, 76 percent of working adults need to feel their job is meaningful to engage with their company. If the meaning isn’t clear, employees can fall victim to the gravity of a purposeless employee experience.
Take a critical look at your organization’s mission statement. Is it powerful enough to propel your workforce onward and upward? Does it send a clear message about the ultimate goal? Here’s how to improve your mission statement and get employees to invest fully.
What Does An Effective Company Mission Statement Look Like?
A mission statement is the ‘why’ of a business; the meaning behind the work being done. A generic mission statement does little to inspire your workforce. But a strong mission statement will energize your workforce and motivate them to dig deep, give their best effort and stay with the mission for years. The best mission statements align your organization’s output with a positive impact on the environment, the community, or the world. They create a “cause” with which employees can’t help but connect on an emotional level. Emotion is a powerful driver of performance. This is especially true for younger generations. According to a 2015 Deloitte survey, 60 percent of millennials said the company purpose contributed to their decision to work there.
Connecting Employees With The Mission
Introducing a new mission statement and convincing employees to invest won’t happen overnight. Here’s a three-step process that will help with the transition:
1. Find Meaning, Define The Mission
How does your organization’s success also mean something positive for the world or the people it serves? The meaning of your mission statement should unite your workforce around a common good. It can be a simple statement like the Life is Good brand: “Spreading the Power of Optimism”. Or it can be a bit more in-depth, like Patagonia’s: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
2. Align Your Employees
This part is tricky. Simply sharing the mission statement isn’t enough. Employees need to believe that the leaders of the organization are deeply invested. This will require buy-in from the top and all workplace leadership on board. Create an event that celebrates the revitalized mission. Share stories about how the work employees are doing is creating a positive impact. A video campaign is a highly effective way to share this story. You can also connect employees to the roots of the mission by revisiting how your organization was founded, why it was founded, and how far it’s come. At this time, it is extremely important that employees hear about the value of their work from leaders and executives.
3. Live The Mission
Once your company has an employee-supported mission statement, it’s important to integrate that mission into the entire organization. The mission statement must become the moral fiber of your day-to-day operation. It should be evident at company-wide meetings and in the individual responsibilities assigned to employees. It should also be reflected in marketing collateral and sales tactics.
This may seem like a lot of work, but the benefits are well worth a thoughtful revitalization of your mission statement. Businesses that make employee work meaningful can expect higher retention rates and top talent acquisition. When employees believe in the work they do, they experience greater job satisfaction, and are more likely to advocate for your organization. Naturally, their enthusiasm also results in greater productivity, sustainable high performance, and a strong company culture.
Take time to re-read your organization’s mission statement. What does it really say about your company?
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.