Most companies have language that speaks to their mission, vision and values. For some companies, these are little more than words on the wall in the lobby. But for many, these words truly guide how employees of the company approach their work. When these concepts truly reflect how the company operates, they are a critical part of driving employee engagement.
At Tribe, we think that there are four ideas that attract employees to a company and keep them engaged in their work.
“I’m into what my company is all about.” The mission describes why the company exists. Put another way, if the company didn’t exist, what would be missing in the world. For example, I quickly Googled Google’s mission. Theirs is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It’s easy enough to imagine what would be missing if Google never existed.
Employees – and increasingly, younger employees – are more and more interested in their company’s mission. They want to be proud of their work. If they’re contributing to something, they want it to be meaningful. Is there something differentiating (or even noble) about the company’s mission? If not, they be just as happy at the competitor across the street?
“I think leadership has a good plan.” The mission is generally an aspirational idea that’s going to require effort to achieve. So the vision should succinctly explain how the company aims to to achieve that goal. When looked at through the prism of the vision, the business strategy (long- and short-term, corporate acquisitions, key hires and every other major corporate decision should make sense to employees.
“I’m clear about how my role contributes to success.” The vision also helps define what employees are supposed to be trying to accomplish when they start their workday. For Google, the vision is to provide access to the world’s information in one click. For Delta, it’s to be the world’s most trusted airline.
Theoretically, if the company hires well, it takes 100 percent of employees to achieve its goals. It might take some connecting of the dots, but each employee should be able to figure out how their work – the effort and commitment – contributes to the company’s success.
“I’m comfortable with how my company acts.” The values guide how employees should behave as they go about achieving the lofty goals of the company’s mission and vision. The values are instrumental in determining the kind of culture and work environment employees experience. Are we caring? Are we driven? Do we fight to the bitter end? Do we love thy neighbor?
Most companies roll out the values greatest hits – integrity, teamwork, commitment and innovation. But those are cultural table stakes that really don’t differentiate. Values provide an opportunity to clearly define the intended culture of the company. They should be interesting enough to help a person understand if this is the kind of company that would be attractive to work for.
By adding up the cumulative effect of mission, vision and values, we find the opportunity for getting employees engaged in their work. When written properly, the mission, vision and values point pretty clearly toward employee engagement.
Need help developing or communicating your mission, vision and values? Tribe can help