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5 Things Amazing Company Mission Statements All Have in Common

What is it about your company culture that defines your organization’s identity and builds your employee alignment? How do you tell the world about the values behind your company? A mission statement keeps everyone on the same page with respect to why you’re even in business at all. While you may feel that your primary purpose for existing is to be financially profitable, no company will achieve long-term success if its only mission is “to make money.” Larger goals matter, both for you and for your employees. Here’s an exploration of what mission statements are and are not, together with five characteristics that amazing company mission statements all have in common.

What Is a Mission Statement, Exactly?

A mission statement “declares the purpose of an organization and defines the reason for the company’s existence,” according to Business News Daily. It’s different from a slogan, which is a marketing phrase designed solely to catch the attention of potential customers. It’s also different from a vision statement, which is longer and is designed to lay out your company’s future. Also, while your mission statement might be incorporated into your business plan, it’s not intended to describe the nuts and bolts of operating.

Mission statements are as varied as individual companies, but the really outstanding ones do have certain characteristics in common:

1. They Are Short and Punchy

A mission statement shouldn’t be an essay. You’ll have better luck aligning your employees when they can remember what your mission statement actually is, instead of recalling it merely as a wall of words on a sign somewhere. Likewise, it should not be written in corporate jargon. Gee Ranasinha, CEO of marketing firm Kexino, puts it this way: “Mission statements need to be written using words and sentences that ‘normal’ people use and understand.”

Casual dining giant Darden Restaurants has truly mastered the art of brevity. Its mission statement: “To nourish and delight everyone we serve.” Darden saves a deeper dive into their company’s values for their employee page, on which they go into much more detail.

2. They Start With an Action Verb

It’s helpful to read a few online lists of the very best mission statements. For instance, in this list you’ll notice that most of the statements have an action word at the beginning of the statement. After the word “To…” you see such words as “inspire,” “create,” “reinvent,” “give” and so on. Although there are variations in which some companies describe what they are going to “be” rather than what they’re going to “do,” the majority use very active phrasing.

3. They Are Specific

Your mission statement should reflect the specific nature of your business and define your company culture and character. Check out two different statements, demonstrating this point. Here’s an example: “Deliver to customers and employees.” Would you be able to tell what kind of product this company is selling? Now compare the first example with, “To discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.” This statement, from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, tells you precisely what the company does.

4. They Are Directed Both Inside and Outside

Here’s an example of a statement that’s only inner-directed: “The company’s primary objective is to maximize long-term stockholder value, while adhering to the laws of the jurisdictions in which it operates and at all times observing the highest ethical standards.” Would this persuade you to become a customer? They are actually a dairy product wholesaler, but their mission statement is almost solely directed at their own staff and stockholders.

In contrast, Patagonia‘s statement is addressed to everyone on the outside as well as on the inside: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” Customers will gain confidence when they read this statement, while employee motivation will be strengthened by the clear articulation of goals.

5. They Are Revisited Every Few Years

Mission statements must grow with the company. Regardless of how carefully you plan the path of your business, the passage of years will inevitably bring evolution. In order to keep your company’s mission statement absolutely relevant, it should be reevaluated every few years. While you may not need to entirely rewrite it, companies often find that it’s necessary to add something to a mission statement as they move forward with development.

Starbucks provides a great example of corporate evolution. In the beginning, their mission statement was, “To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffees in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles as we grow.” Nothing wrong with that — but as they grew, they wanted to express something more. Their current mission: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” Clearly this illustrates a shift in the company culture, and would be noticed by customers as well as by employees.

Writing a strong mission statement conveys your company’s “true passions and values,” according to Wendy Maynard, strategic director of Kinesis, a marketing firm. Maynard points out that the rewards for putting the time and effort into crafting a powerful mission statement will provide real value to your company. To learn more, read our blog on the Top 5 Company Missions and Values.

At Achievers, our mission is to change the way the world works. Achievers is a behavior-driving employee engagement platform that listens to employees and aligns them with business objectives and company values. Our award-winning employee recognition platform and active listening interface with insights enable enterprise organizations to accelerate employee engagement. Shop Direct, a multi-brand online retailer serving the United Kingdom and Ireland, saw a 17% increase in their engagement survey after implementing their Shine program, powered by Achievers. To learn more, check out Shop Direct’s case study.

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Create a Mission-Based Culture

4 Ways to Create a Mission-Based Culture Where Employees Will Thrive

A company’s mission statement is the driving force behind its company culture. It’s what ignites passion and motivation in employees.

At Achievers, our mission is simple: to change the way the world works. We aspire to do that by aligning everyone with business goals and company values, driven by recognizing shared victories every day. In short, we aim to make success a way of life.

Creating a mission-based culture is crucial for employee — and ultimately, company — success. In fact, according to our latest report, 76 percent of North American employees cited a positive corporate culture as the single most important quality in an employer.

By focusing on your mission company-wide, you open the door for more meaningful employee experiences and a more motivated team.

Here are four steps you can take to instill a mission-based culture at your company:

  1. Start with the employee

Empowering employees to adopt the company’s mission and values as their own is the first step in creating a mission-based culture.

Help your team take this step by encouraging employees to approach their work with an entrepreneurial mindset. Challenge your team to proactively and creatively find solutions to issues the company is facing.

Software companies, for instance, use hackathons to discover new solutions in programming. Leverage this idea to bring people together to accomplish challenges that can have impact throughout the company.

Jumpstart the event by asking employees to note the biggest challenges they or your customers are facing. Next, have them form teams and begin collaborating. Give employees a designated amount of time (traditional hackathons are about 48 hours) to design a program, role, or even software to solve the issues they presented.

The last step is to have employees present their solution and successfully explain how it reinforces the company’s mission. The winning team can then move forward with implementing their solution.

  1. Celebrate your mission

 Recognition isn’t just about celebrating your employees. It’s also about celebrating your company’s mission and recognizing those who exemplify it. In doing so, employees are able to see a direct connection between their efforts, the mission statement, and the company culture.

Unfortunately, it seems many companies are missing the recognition mark. In fact, our report also found that 55 percent of North American employees noted a lack of recognition and engagement as the main reasons behind wanting to change jobs.

At Achievers, we maintain a strong, positive culture by tying our communication and employee recognition efforts to employees’ work. For example, on a quarterly basis, our company comes together for a rewards and recognition (R&R) celebrations.

We place a lot of importance on giving our employees a voice and making it known throughout the company. We are not only proud of our employees, but also we value them and want to demonstrate that during the R&R celebration.

Recognitions are shared company-wide, highlighting examples of how our employees make a difference both internally and with our customers. No accomplishment is too small. They are meaningful, impactful, and push the company’s mission forward.

  1. Be transparent during the good and the bad

 Transparency allows employees to clearly see how their efforts impact overall organizational goals. To give employees a greater sense of transparency, let your company’s mission and values shine through in every situation — both good and bad.

When something great happens, like the promotion of a team member, celebrate it publicly. Explain what this employee did to earn a promotion and how their actions and attitude positively reflect the company’s mission. This way, employees can see the company mission in action and learn and grow from it.

While not as easy to do, it’s equally important to share the downsides of the job with employees. If you lose a client, for instance, be open and honest with your team about why this happened. Most importantly, use this time to inspire employees and unite them behind your mission. By discussing the issue as a team, you and the company can learn from this experience and help prevent similar issues in the future.

  1. Stay connected

 Your company and employees are constantly evolving. Even if your mission stays the same, the connections and values employees have will change. Because each employee is unique, you need to stay connected to their emotions and relationship with the company.

To accomplish this, arm your managers with the tools they need to listen to their employees, as well as offer recognition, on a consistent basis.

Technology that allows your managers to get a pulse on their direct reports on a daily basis will provide more insight into accomplishments and challenges than an annual or quarterly survey. More importantly, the data managers receive is in real-time, which allows them to take immediate action.

Giving your managers the tools they need to listen and respond to their direct reports in a personalized way brings it full-circle and back to the company mission. These practices will give leaders the opportunity to understand what matters to their employees, react in the moment, and redirect employees to a more engaged, mission-based culture.

Find out more about your employees’ needs and expectations by downloading our report here.

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Are you free in October? Come see me and discover how to increase employee engagement by attending Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2018 in Toronto, October 23-24. Get the early bird rate and save $200 off the regular rate today. Buy now here.

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author
Diane ScheidlerDiane Scheidler is the Head of HR at Achievers, an employee engagement platform specifically designed to align everyone with business objectives and company values, driven by recognizing shared victories every day.

 

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disengagement and incentivizing

How to Incentivize the Modern Workforce

Management strategies have been evolving, over the last two five years, to favor more bottom-up measures to drive greater workforce productivity. While many Best-in-Class companies are retaining and using labor investment resources in payroll and compensation management, many of their peripheral Human Capital Management (HCM) investments are moving away from pure labor cost quantification to favor goal-based platforms in rewards and recognition. Are you currently offering incentives, such as rewards and recognition, to your employees?

With the inherent uniqueness of the individual in the corporate workforce, it is a virtual impossibility to find a one size fits all approach to incentivizing employees. An unincentivized employee is likely a disengaged one, meaning aspects of your business such as innovation, productivity, and retention could suffer. Furthermore, a workforce should be recognized and rewarded for embodying clearly defined corporate values or meeting specific company goals in a highly visible way, otherwise, employees may lose sight of the relevance of their work to the overall company mission, leading to disengagement and eventually attrition.

Moving from Disengaged to Incentivized

In their recently published report, Tomorrow’s Management Today: Incentivizing Workforce Innovation, The Aberdeen Group further stresses the importance of instituting and maintaining a well-defined, highly visible recognition and rewards program. Specifically, the report finds that employees at Best-In-Class companies were 31% more likely to stay with their employer if they felt that their work was relevant, and visibly impacted the organization. One of the easiest ways to ensure that recogntion reinforces successes aligned with company values in a highly visable way is by investing in an HCM system that offers a robust, goal-based recogntion and rewards component.

In-line with Alignment

Employees shouldn’t have to guess as to what the values and goals of their given organization are, nor should it be difficult to recognize and reward them for adhering to these values in pursuit of the stated goals. These shared goals and values should be apparent to everyone in the company, regardless of job title. Difficulty in effectively communicating key corporate objectives on an enterprise-wide level, isn’t a new phenomenon; companies have long been challenged with providing granular clarity to lower-level employees. Merely, announcing these goals at a quarterly kick-off meeting or sending them out in yearly newsletter does little to align individual employees’ around these goals.

Aberdeen Quote

Bottom-Up Drivers of Greater Productivity

Where it was once difficult to measure concepts such as productivity, innovation, etc., the continuous evolution or HCM systems, specifically those emphasizing recognition and rewards, can offer a tangible measurement as to the employees demonstrating those qualities a company values most. In this report you will learn how best-in-class companies are beginning to focus their peripheral HCM spend on goal-based platforms in rewards and recognition and how they are favoring bottom-up measures to drive greater workforce productivity.

Now that you have a general understanding as to the major cultural shift emphasizing employee engagement, download Aberdeen’s report on Incentivizing Workplace Innovation for more information, including recommendations regarding the selection of an HCM ecosystem.

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About the Author

Iain Ferreira

Iain Ferreira is the Content Marketing Manager at Achievers. He lives in San Francisco. You can view his Linkedin profile here.

 

 

 

Company Mission Statement

Why you should integrate employee ideas into your mission statement

How many of your employees could recite your mission statement, or even summarize it? If your answer is “almost none,” you’re missing out on a powerful engine for employee engagement. Too often, the company mission statement quietly resides on a website page no one ever looks at, while the actual fabric of company life is woven from the strings of daily tasks. Here’s why your organizational health depends on having a mission statement that resonates with your employees, and a few words about how to make that happen.

Mission statements should drive engagement

People need a purpose for the work they do. A job for which a paycheck is the sole motivator usually leads to a disengaged if not alienated workforce, and obviously no business thrives in that condition. While few workplaces may be subject to such a total emotional disconnect, many still have plenty of room for improvement: In our 2015 North American workforce report, we discovered that more than half of today’s workforce (57 percent) don’t find their company’s mission statements inspiring at all. Here’s one possible reason: 61 percent of survey respondents stated that they didn’t even know their company’s mission.

Employees play a crucial role in setting the mission

Bruce Casenave, Nautilus Inc. CEO, points out: “Not only does your company need to maintain clearly identified values, but every employee must understand his or her role in supporting the mission in order to achieve the collective results.” Harvard Business Review adds, “Employees who don’t understand the roles they play in company success are more likely to become disengaged.”

How to encourage employee input

Soliciting and vetting ideas from large employee populations may sound like an impossible time sink, but with today’s collaboration platforms, it’s more doable than ever. Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst relates his company’s successful use of a global communication tool to invite employee input on rewriting the mission statement. He admits that the process did give rise to blunt commentary from workers to managers, but a free exchange of ideas was essential for establishing companywide buy-in to the final statement. A leader can jump-start the creative process by posing open questions to workers, such as “What do you think we do well?” or “What should the company core values be?”

Allowing your employees to express their vision for the company mission can only have a positive impact. Such mutual goal-setting is a great practice for making sure your employees feel aligned with your overarching business objectives and motivated to help you meet them.