It’s 7:37 pm on Wednesday night. I’m still at work, writing this blog and jamming out to Stevie Wonder. It should be a pretty quiet and lonely experience, but I’ve come to realize that I’m not completely alone. While I might have the office all to myself, I still see a few co-workers online, I see a light on in several windows across the way and can hear people talking and laughing in the halls outside our office door.
Reality check, employees work longer than the average 8-hour day. Studies show that today’s workforce spends more time:
- in the office than they do at home
- with co-workers than with family
- focused on work-related topics than personal interests
That’s great if you’re a “rise and grind” kind of person. One who is invested in the job and clearly sees that your time, effort and energy pays off. Unfortunately, most Americans aren’t feeling that way. The State of the American Workplace report shows that only four in 10 U.S. employees strongly feel like their job helps serve a greater purpose. That leaves 60% feeling like the work they do is pretty pointless, and that’s not a great place to be. The result of employees spending more time at work while feeling no sense of greater purpose will destroy employee morale and the company brand.
Counteract this by having a clear mission statement. Set a vision. Help them understand the impact they have. Show them how what they do rolls into the larger purpose of the organization.
When employees find purpose in their position and see how their work effects the goals of the group that they are engaged and connected with, then they can create positive momentum towards achieving the company’s overall purpose and goals.
So, what makes a great mission statement?
Keep it short, sweet, and easy to remember. A mission statement should define the company goals, ethics and culture. This is the truth of the organization and is the compass for all decision making.
The statement should address the basics like:
- What does your company do, and why do you do it?
- What markets are you serving? How are you serving them?
- Do you solve a problem for your customers and clients? How?
- EXTRA CREDIT: What does your ideal work environment for employees look like?
Some examples of great mission statements:
The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.
At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
Patagonia (my personal favorite)
Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
How do I live the mission?
Here’s the awesome thing. A good mission statement clearly, and accurately outlines your business objectives. If your organization is already closely aligned with the mission, then your day-to-day should reflect that. You can focus your goals and examine how your position impacts the overall purpose of the organization.
If there’s discrepancies between current business operations and what’s stated in the mission, then reevaluate. Is the mission still relevant? If it is, what can you do to better align current business objectives with the ideal? If it’s not, then it’s time for a new mission statement. Keep it simple and clean, but applicable.
How do I get others to live it too?
Early adoption is key. The sooner you get your mission in front of employees and the sooner you show them how their position impacts the mission, the better the results. The onboarding experts at Click Boarding recommend adding your company’s mission statement early on in the onboarding process, and trace back to it throughout the new hire’s first 30 days with the company. By the end of their first month they should be able to recite it and say how they fit into the mission whenever prompted.
Existing employees…here it’s better to lead by example. If you live the mission and incorporate it into your daily life, they will follow suit.
Once your mission is fully ingrained into your company culture, employees can see where, and how, they fit into that mission. The sense of purpose will reduce absenteeism, improve productivity, and give quality of work a boost too.
Hopefully this blog will help you tackle the eighth element of engagement. Stay tuned as we count down to number 12!
If you missed the preceding articles in the Employee Engagement Series:
- Start with Expectations
- Focus on Productivity
- Allow Employees to Do their Best Work
- Give Praise
- Show You Care
- Encourage Development
- Make their Opinions Count
Available as a complimentary download:
Infographic: The Impact of an Unengaged Employee