Featured image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Any organization can write a mission statement and display it on their website or mention it in their employee handbook. But it takes a business leader with real integrity and intentionality to build an entire workplace culture around that mission.
Knowing the mission behind a company is vital. It clarifies the purpose for what you do and serves as the blueprint for how you do it.
This should inform all business decisions. It should include everything from talent acquisition and development, to customer service and retention, to team unity and collaboration, to everything in between. Companies that rely heavily on their missions tend to grow at a rate “three times faster than their competitors,” Moreover, they achieve “higher employee and customer satisfaction,” a recent Deloitte survey estimates.
In fact, these “findings reveal that many consumers today make decisions based on how brands treat their people, how they treat the environment, and how they support the communities in which they operate,” this poll continues.
So think of the mission as your organization’s core DNA. It determines how you connect as a team internally and how you earn the trust of stakeholders externally. Below are five reasons why a meaningful, well-defined mission is the driving force of a successful culture. What’s more, these profound truths come straight from the mouths of business experts, leaders, and entrepreneurs.
RELATED ARTICLE: BUSINESS LEADERS ARE CHANGING THE THROW-AWAY CULTURE
Your Mission Statement Establishes Your “Why” from the Onset
“It is all too easy for employees to lose sight of why they come to work each day or how they actually contribute. However, reiterating the company mission causes it to forever stick in the minds of those internally. And it also answers the ‘why’ of an employee’s work, day in and day out. Understanding this is critical to employees and creates a sense of purpose. At ClearCompany, we hold ‘why’ training with all employees.
“Recently, our training and engagement specialist put together an internal session about why we exist. We then had all 100 or so employees give a brief pitch to the executive team on our mission and vision. This included how their role helps us create success and what makes the ClearCompany platform different.
“While it was a time-consuming initiative, it has had an extremely positive impact. The employees—no matter what department [or position]—have an executive-level understanding of why we exist. And that has helped us better infuse our mission into every client interaction.”
— Sara Pollock, Vice President of Marketing, ClearCompany Talent Management
A Mission Statement Promotes Team Cohesion and Alignment
“I strongly believe that when your company is aligned on a shared mission, your vales and culture will spring naturally from that mission. For us, we are on a mission to overhaul the staffing industry. We intend to set a new standard of service, value, and innovation. That phrase forms the core of who we want to become. Our values are defined from that one focused statement. For example, our company values are as follows:
- Small Victories — Sweat every detail and celebrate the wins
- Big Picture — See the forest and the trees
- Transparency — Encourage open communication and a clear mission
- Directness — Provide real access at speed
- Understanding — Knowledge is power, empathy is key
- Community — A rising tide lifts all the boats
- Generosity — Make it personal
“For our company, defining these values is not only a vision to rally behind. It also preemptively gives us the structure we need to hire better and create a more committed, stronger team. As we have grown to include remote team members, our mission has become more critical than ever. It is crucial that we are aligned with our company values.”
— Matt Tant, Co-Founder and CEO, Relode Healthcare Staffing
A Strong Mission Statement Leads to Growth and Commitment on All Levels
“We have launched a new strapline, ‘Serving Happiness.’ It comes with six accompanying values: ‘Family First, Celebrate Uniqueness, Share Your Thoughts, Make It Count, Reward Success, and Grow Together.’
“We felt it was important to our mission to focus first on our people when defining our values, rather than specific business objectives. After all, that is who the values are for. We see them as a commitment from the business to everyone in it. This is how we want to experience our work environment.
“It was also important to have a mission statement, an overarching statement to encompass our vision and values. Therefore, we adopted ‘Serving Happiness’ as our overall strapline. This has multiple layers of meaning. First it means serving happiness to each other. But after that, it also means serving happiness to our clients and their customers.
“Something we feel strongly about is making sure our values are not just displayed on walls, but are actually lived and experienced. To tackle that, we held group sessions to discuss how we could best reflect [and] use them as themes for all internal communication, events, and rewards. We decided to introduce a partnership agreement [on] what our managers would commit to and then, as the most important point, what our frontend staff would commit to in return.”
— Tracy Davies, Chief Engagement Officer, FM Outsource
It Reinforces a Community-Driven Impact
“Our company’s mantra is ‘Work Hard, Have Fun, Help Others.’ And my team’s focus can be summarized in one simple phrase, ‘Leave It Better.’ This manifests in the meaningful resident experiences and environmentally sustainable initiatives we create. Through our core value of ‘Help Others,’ I am motivated as a manager to not only earn a paycheck, but to make a positive impact each day.
“During these unprecedented times, it is even more important to serve our residents in the ups and downs of this ‘new normal.’ With drastic changes in routines, finances, and lifestyle plans, it is crucial to ensure our staff is both helpful and empathetic. For this reason, emotional intelligence has driven both the resources and relationships we offer during COVID-19. In fact, our main objective right now is to promote community-wide emotional, physical, and mental health in the midst of social distancing.
“For example, one of our most prominent initiatives recently was a social media campaign that motivated residents to complete 25 wellness activities in five days. All participants were encouraged to share photos of themselves doing these activities. Then my team re-posted them on our social networks. While this unique season of separation has presented challenges, we have seen our company culture become stronger and more intentional than ever before. It is incredible to see residents, staff members, and the local community support the well-being of themselves and one another.”
— Jennie Lee Montgomery, Lifestyle and Experience Manager, EPOCH Clemson Student Living
It Produces an Authentic and Creative Touch
“We want our company to have a unique and memorable personality. Our company culture is what makes us successful. And in our culture, we celebrate and embrace our diversity and each person’s individuality.[…] To outsiders, that might come across as inconsistent our weird. But the consistency is in our belief that we function best when we can be ourselves. We want the weirdness in each of us to be expressed in our interactions with each other and in our work.
“But we never want to become complacent and accept the status quo just because that is the way things have always been done. We should always be seeking adventure and having fun and exploring new possibilities.[…] We approach situations and challenges with an open mind. Sometimes our sense of adventure and creativity causes us to be unconventional in our solutions. This is because we have the freedom to think outside the box. But that is what allows us to rise above and stay ahead of the competition.”
— Tony Hsieh, E-Commerce Entrepreneur and CEO, Zappos.com Retailer
How Has Your Company Mission Altered Your Business?
How has a mission-focused approach informed, changed, or reinvented your workplace culture? Have you seen a difference in customer, employee, stakeholder, and community relationships since allowing this mission to drive the culture? Use your answers to these questions, along with the insights you gained from reading this post, to strengthen your company’s mission statement.