In many ways, the mission statement is the heart of an organization. It reflects what the company stands for and what it believes. It’s a source of inspiration that encourages the team to work together with a sense of purpose.
Or at least that’s the theory.
In reality, employees are feeling a big disconnect with their company’s mission statement. In a 2016 survey from Gallup, less than half of all employees worldwide reported feeling a strong connection to their company’s mission statement. This, in turn, contributes to the fact that just 13 percent of employees around the world are engaged at work.
A mission statement needs to resonate with employees. It needs to not only give the company a purpose, but also the employees so they see and feel that the work they do matters. But instead, most missions have employees feeling a little apathetic.
Here are four reasons employees aren’t connecting with your company’s mission statement:
1. Not including it in talent acquisition strategies
A successful hiring process not only identifies talent that fits the position, but also individuals that mesh well with the company as a whole. That connection stems from the company’s mission statement. However, it’s noticeably absent from hiring and recruiting strategies.
A 2015 study from ALEX found that 37.5 percent of new employees didn’t have an understanding of the company’s mission and values until after their first day of work. What’s worse, 11.3 percent still didn’t have an understanding after their first 90 days of employment.
That means during the crucial time when the foundations of the employee’s relationship are being laid, the mission statement is an afterthought. It’s something that isn’t fully discussed until it’s too late.
If you want to be sure a job seeker is truly a great match for your organization, you need to see if the mission statement speaks to them earlier in the hiring process. By including the mission statement in job descriptions and recruiting material, candidates who decide to apply would already be aware of what the company believes and stands for. They’ll have a better understanding of how well they relate to that mission, increasing the chances of hiring motivated and dedicated employees.
2. Talking the talk, but not walking the walk
Every action of an organization should tie back to its mission statement. From the executives all the way down to entry-level employees, it should be clear how their daily tasks contribute to the company’s mission. When a company achieves that, it has an amazing affect on employees.
For example, the 2016 The Employee Experience Index from IBM found that when employees feel that the work they do is consistent with the core values of the organization, 80 percent report a positive employee experience. In comparison, only 29 percent of employees who do not agree that their actions align with the mission report a positive experience.
Be very clear about how day-to-day tasks reflect the mission statement. This will show employees how their work -- even more mundane tasks -- contribute to the team. Start at the top of the organization by having all major decisions or changes tie back to the mission statement.
3. Contradictory benefits
Let’s imagine that you work for a investment company. It’s likely that your company’s mission would be dedicated to providing clients with services that lead to their financial stability. But your company offered you no benefits that supported your own financial wellness. The hypocrisy of that would make it difficult for you and your co-workers to stand behind a belief that your organization didn’t feel applied to you.
On the other hand, if you worked at such a company and they provided you with everything from financial planning advice to college savings plans to 401k matching benefits, you could experience and better understand the company’s mission.
Take a look at the benefits you offer employees. Look for ways they reflect and reinforce the mission statement. If you notice there are aspects of your core values that aren’t being provided to your employees, look at changing or expanding the benefits you offer.
4. Ineffective communication
Internal communication can be a struggle for even the best organization. In fact, the 2016 State of Employee Feedback report from Quantum Workplace found that 33.3 percent of highly engaged companies and 40 percent of highly disengaged companies report communication as the biggest issue surrounding HR initiatives.
If companies want to reinforce their mission statement and create programs to support it, communication is key. Keep the lines of communication open when instituting new strategies designed to unite the team. Encourage employees to ask questions about new programs so they can fully understand the goals of the initiatives and feel a deeper connection with the changes.
A mission statement can be a powerful thing, but only when it’s an active part of employees’ professional lives. By finding ways to connect employees with the values and mission of your company, they can feel like a more integral part of the organization.
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