A mission statement is more than some aspirational words you put together to share with investors and a few key executives. It’s also more than the preface to an employee handbook, which almost always gets tossed aside as soon as your new hires complete their on-boarding process.
According to research on employee engagement, engaged employees are highly aligned with the mission of their companies. An engaging mission statement describing the reason your company exists—and most importantly, why it’s relevant—can be a tool that gets your employees fired up and dedicated to the company’s values and mission.
What Is a Mission Statement?
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, an effective mission statement should explain what the company does for its main stakeholders, employees, customers, and investors. It is also important for employees to know what the mission statement is and for it to set the company apart from other companies.
Tip: If you can replace your company’s name with your competitor’s name, then it isn’t going to resonate.
A strong mission statement helps keep existing employees focused, and also plays a key role in drawing in new talent. This is because company mission statements are part of both building a company that attracts the best-fit talent and showcasing the places where the company excels.
The mission statement can be used in creating new initiatives for the company while helping you and your employees maintain a focus on your company’s core competencies. It can even help in keeping an eye on the goals for your company.
Creating a Succinct and Meaningful Mission Statement
A mission statement should be succinct—three or four sentences long at most—and you should be able to recite it, elevator-pitch style, in 30 seconds or fewer. To be effective at rallying employees behind your company’s mission statement, it should explain:
- Who the company is
- What the company stands for
- Why the company is in business
Show, Don’t Tell
The tricky part is making your mission statement stand out in those few sentences. Instead of saying your company exists to provide great customer service, be specific. Mention the way your company serves customers by providing next-day shipping on your custom-made XYZ widgets. That way, you’re showing—not telling—why your company is a pioneer in great customer service.
Writing this statement about your company’s purpose is your opportunity to speak directly to employees—current, prospective, and future—and focus on the things that make your company exceptional.
Strong Company Mission Statements Encourage Employee Engagement
Adding this kind of precision to your mission statement gives employees something they can get behind. It encourages employee engagement because it establishes a goal where everyone in the organization can focus attention, and it tells what makes your company unique.
For an organization to succeed, each person in the organizational structure needs to know his or her role and perform a set of assigned tasks. Put your company’s mission statement in each piece of correspondence, starting with your job postings. This tells potential employees that you are looking for workers who can bring a high level of performance to the table and who fit in with your values.
Want to learn more about employee engagement? Download our thought leadership ebook, How to Build an Engaged Workforce, complete with best practices from top talent pros and industry experts.