How to Align Employees with Your Company’s Mission
While a lot of employees truly wish their company to succeed, the fact remains that these best intentions need to be properly aligned to connect them to your organisation’s mission. If these best of intentions are not directed properly, all that remains is sheer noise which does nothing but hinders the progress of your company. To connect your employees with the company’s mission, clearly guided by its strong values and principles, follow the steps given below:
1. Invest time in developing your mission
A company’s mission states its purpose, and therefore it needs to stand the test of time. But that doesn’t mean your mission statement needs to be boring. In fact, a well-crafted mission statement helps to unite the employees of an organisation towards achieving a common goal. As you sit down to frame the mission statement of your organisation, first and foremost you should consider what is it that sets your company apart from your competitors? Why are you different? For instance, is it the quality of your products, the world-class customer service, your communication style, or your involvement in community mission?
Let’s take a look at the mission statement of Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time”. If you carefully read its mission statement, you will realise that its mission is not just to prepare the best coffee or to simply sell maximum coffee. In fact, it is much more ambitious and aims to form a humanitarian connection with its customers via coffee. This mission statement helps its employees to focus towards creating an amazing customer experience above everything else.
2. Narrow your vision
People often tend to confuse between mission statements and vision. The mission statement presents the overall picture, and hence it is lofty and broad in nature. The vision statement, on the other hand, trims it down. A vision statement encompasses what you wish to achieve, the goals, the strategic direction, and the tentative timeline. A vision statement is measurable.
Let’s take a look at Toyota’s vision statement: “Toyota will lead the way of the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people”. You should frame your vision statement in such a manner that it easily explains your business decisions to your employees. In the above example of Toyota, the vision statement clarifies to its employees why they design and make a product in a certain manner so that their products are safe and responsible. It also explains why a quick turnaround time is needed so that they can be the leaders in their industry. However, you need to remember that unlike the mission, a vision statement may change over time. Hence, leaders need to revisit it at regular intervals to ensure that it stays current and still makes sense.
3. Communicate your values
You need to be aware of the fact that just as your vision supports your mission, cultural values to help you to achieve your vision. A good value statement clearly defines the behavioural expectations from its employees. It explains how it wants its employees to project themselves at work. Let’s take a look at a good value statement: “It is ok to disagree, but it is not ok to be disagreeable”. This value statement clearly communicates to its employees that you certainly need and welcome their opinion, but it also clearly states that you expect them to be respectful at the same time.
4. Align employees with your mission
If an organisation fails to align itself with its mission, the outcome will be some employees working towards one thing while others working towards another thing. For instance, a manufacturing team may end up purchasing a new and expensive machinery for a new product, while the vision and mission of the company are directed towards an existing product. This kind of misalignment may cause your company to lose out on a significant portion of your capital. Hence, it is the duty of the leaders to ensure that its employees’ contribution supports their mission as well as their vision. While the role of the finance team will be different than the sales team, yet each team needs to be aware of what their share of work is and how it impacts the bigger picture. This will help both these teams make appropriate decisions.
5. Keep your mission, values, and vision Focussed
After you roll out your new mission, vision, and values, follow the below-mentioned pointers to keep them centred:
- Engagement surveys: Roll out an employee engagement survey and ask alignment centric questions about your mission, vision, and values. For instance, if you find inconsistencies or inaccuracies in the answers of your employees, you would need to help them to understand the same correctly and explain to them how they can contribute.
- Figure out what’s working and what not: You will notice that when you outline the mission of your company, everyone and everything start heading towards one direction. Thus it becomes easier to figure out what is working for you and what isn’t. It indirectly helps in your decision making.
- Hold company-wide, town hall meetings: To keep your employees engaged, it is important that you share at regular intervals how your organisation is making an effort to reach its mission and vision. Research suggests an organisation which is well-informed top-down is found to be much more engaged, productive and happier.
- Make goals relevant to your employees: Managers should make an effort to meet the employees to analyse how they are helping in achieving the company’s vision and mission. By doing this, managers can make the vision and mission more relevant to their employees. When employees understand their role in the company’s mission, they tend to find their work more meaningful and thus are likely to be more engaged.
- Conduct regular meeting with your direct reports: As a manager, if you conduct regular 1:1, weekly or monthly meetings with your direct reports, it will help in developing a healthy & open relationship. These regular check-ins, ensure your direct reports are not out of alignment until it’s too late during the annual performance review.
- Use the company’s mission and vision to have difficult conversations with your direct reports: Always take the help of your company’s vision or mission statement when you need to have difficult interviews with your employees. For instance, if you figure out instances where poor quality products were rolled out to customers, you can drive the attention of your employees towards your mission or vision statement which clearly states the significance of delivering quality products to customers.
- Reward and recognise employees for good work: Always ensure that you reward your employees duly for their good work from time to time. Ensure to link the rewards to your company’s mission and vision. For instance, if client retention is a key element of your mission and vision, then you need to recognise and reward an employee who did everything possible to retain an important client during a challenging situation!