There have been times when I've walked into an organization that appears to be a turbo-charged...
Powering People with your Company Mission
Lots and lots of companies have mission statements – an explanation, in concise and simple terms, that defines the company’s reason for existence and its purpose. It’s often one of the top “to-do’s” that company founders or entrepreneurs tackle.
While we often think of a mission statement as being in place to attract customers or grow new business opportunities, it serves many purposes. A mission statement not only expresses the company’s identity but can also guide organizational culture, entice job candidates, and provide a clear line of sight (for ALL employees) to the goals of the organization.
There are numerous ways to incorporate your company mission into your talent strategy and across the employee lifecycle. Let’s imagine, for a moment, that we work at Acme Widgets with the following company mission:
“At Acme Widgets, we reimagine the possibilities for widgets, promote good in the world,
and operate with creativity, empathy, integrity, and innovation.”
So how do we link THIS to our talent strategy? Here are a few ideas…
Message differentiation for talent attraction
Job seekers have a choice when deciding where they wish to work, and the majority of candidates will consider a company’s mission and purpose before applying. So, while our group at Acme Widgets may indeed make the best-darn-widgets-around, the development of our employer brand, recruitment marketing strategies, and the interviewing and selection process should all align to the breadth of the mission. For these purposes, and for the assorted collateral and messaging we create, Acme Widgets should clarify “how” we promote good in the world and “how” our values of creativity, empathy, integrity, and innovation come alive.
Connect each job to the company mission
We can also promote understanding and alignment for employees by incorporating the mission into both job descriptions and performance expectations. Let’s imagine Acme Widgets is hiring for an Accounts Payable Clerk – a position it can be easy to classify as a back-office job that is far removed from the actual “making” of our world-changing widgets. But if that A/P Clerk is not invested in the mission, they may merely go through the motions instead of understanding their role (if the bills aren’t paid…Acme can’t stay in business… right?) in the success of the company
In this case, in the section of the Job Description that references “Job Purpose” we can actually spell it out: The Accounts Payable Clerk is integral to ensuring the financial integrity and transparency of our operations. With a focus on innovating for efficiencies, they operate with diligence and accuracy to support the responsible allocation of company resources.
Align performance reviews with company mission
Effective performance reviews are a dialogue; a conversation that transfers information between an employee and their manager. And in amongst the discussion about performance, development and goals, there is a perfect opportunity to re-affirm both the company mission (that should be empowering people to do their best work) and the types of behaviors that align with company values.
At Acme Widgets we might put this into action by including questions such as:
“Describe how Jane Employee has re-imagined one job duty over the last quarter.”
“What is an example of when Jane Employee demonstrated operating with integrity?”
Your company mission statement, designed for a wide-ranging audience from customers to investors to employees, reflects the soul of your business. It defines, very succinctly, why you exist and how you operate. It allows you to connect with people in both a logical and an emotional way. And never underestimate the power of an emotional connection; words and feelings will resonate with someone even after they move on to another widget supplier or to take another job.
Many years ago (let's just say it was before some of today’s musical artists were out of their cribs) I worked for an extremely mission-driven non-profit agency that had been in existence for 90 years. We conducted value-based interviewing. Our mission guided every decision we made at the leadership and board level. We kicked off all-staff meetings with a conversation about our mission and values.
And because we imprinted these things into all we did I still remember them: Compassion, Mutuality, Non-Violence, and Companioning.
A company mission that lingers, years later, in the brain and heart. That was a pretty powerful way to power people.