Quick look: A growing number of workers today want their employers’ value and purpose to match their own. But what steps should SMBs take to properly establish their mission, values, and vision? Here, explore the difference between these three things, four best practices for aligning your employees with these company-wide goals, and how a PEO can help.
At the heart of each business’ goals are its mission, values, and vision. And it’s more important than ever that employees feel tied to these things.
The business landscape has rapidly evolved, and today’s talent wants to work for an organization that reflects their personal beliefs. Recent research shows that 54% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut to work at a company that shares their values. Further, 56% report they wouldn’t consider a job at a business that holds values they disagreed with.
This trend especially rings true with younger workers, who are quickly becoming the largest segment of the workforce. For instance, 77% of Generation Z, or those born between 1996 and 2012, say it’s important to work at an employer whose values align with their own.
Misalignment may also lead to other costly business ramifications. Employees who don’t connect with and fully understand the company’s mission may work toward different goals and ultimately waste time, money, and resources. For example, one team may inadvertently heavily invest in a project they consider important, but that differs from what the organization prioritizes. This misunderstanding may lead to financial and operational inefficiencies.
Mission vs. values vs. vision: what’s the difference?
Ideally, a business should have a clear and concise mission, set of values, and vision. But what is the difference between these three? The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines them as:
- A mission statement concisely explains the organization’s purpose and intention. It supports the business’ vision and communicates purpose and direction to employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
- Questions to consider: What is our company’s purpose? Why does our organization exist?
- A vision statement is inspirational, aspirational, and describes the ideal state that the organization wishes to achieve.
- Questions to consider: What problem are we solving for? Where are we headed? What would we look like in 10 years if we achieved all our goals?
- A values statement lists the fundamental principles that guide and direct the company and its culture and provides a moral compass for the entire organization. This framework is shared, guides decision-making, establishes a standard against which actions can be assessed, and is acted upon by leadership. A code of ethics can be included in a business’ employee handbook and works together with a values statement by outlining the procedures designed to uphold the core values.
- Questions to consider: What values are unique to our organization? What values should guide our operations? What conduct should our employees maintain? What are common ethical issues in our industry? What should someone do if they witness a violation of our values?
How to align employees with company goals: 4 best practices
An organization’s mission, vision, and values drive it toward success—but that success can only occur if every layer of staff understands and works toward those ideals. Business leaders can ensure their workforce consistently understands its company goals by implementing the following four tactics.
1. Start on—and before—day 1
The company’s mission, vision, and values statements should be clearly presented during new hire training sessions. Instilling these ideas in employees early on helps set a long-term precedent on what’s important to the organization and what staff should work toward.
The company’s goals and beliefs should also be shared with potential workers during the recruiting and hiring process. This information can be distributed to candidates through recruiters and can also be published on the business’ website. Sharing your mission, vision, and values allows you to determine if a candidate is the right fit and enables interviewees to decide if your organization aligns with their values. Determining this alignment before day one could help your organization avoid the costly process of replacing workers.
2. Repeat, repeat, repeat
Repetition is key to keeping your company’s goals top of mind for your employees. Small- and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders should consider the following methods of sharing the organization’s mission, vision, and values:
- Post them around the office on flyers or digital screens, on the company intranet, and on the business’ performance management platform, if applicable
- Discuss them during meetings, especially company-wide gatherings like town halls and annual kickoffs
- Tie them into your company and individual objectives and key results (OKRs) by identifying the role they play in achieving key performance indicators (KPIs)
3. Begin at the top
To effectively work toward common goals, they must be shared throughout the organization from top to bottom.
Your business’s senior leadership team should ultimately be held accountable for ensuring employees’ work supports the organization’s mission, values, and vision. Leaders may inform managers of important messages and objectives, and managers can then communicate those to their teams. Skip-level meetings between an employee and their boss’s boss may also be helpful to reiterate the communication.
By spreading knowledge of the company’s goals through each department, every team should know what is expected of them and how to make appropriate decisions based on a common mission.
4. Measure and celebrate together
Now comes the fun part—assessing and honoring organizational success!
Businesses may use a performance management platform to closely track progress toward their KPIs and OKRs. Leadership should regularly and transparently report on the progress made towards organization-wide goals and how the company’s mission, values, and vision tie into those achievements.
Employee recognition is also crucial, and business leaders should acknowledge that it requires a collective effort to achieve goals. Individual employees should be regularly recognized for their contributions to the company mission, whether through awards, special events, public shoutouts, or in another meaningful way.
Supporting your success every step of the way
Ironically, many SMB leaders may be so focused on growth that they lack the time and resources to invest in aligning their employees with their company’s goals.
A professional employer organization (PEO), like ExtensisHR, that’s well-versed in helping small businesses succeed, can help. In addition to providing comprehensive human resources, employee benefits, and risk and compliance services, ExtensisHR also offers:
- Dedicated HR managers to guide business leaders as they develop their company mission, value, and vision statements
- Affordable access to 15Five, a leading performance management platform that can help organizations track their overall and individual OKRs, tie company goals into them, and deliver one-on-one employee recognition both publicly and privately
- Full-cycle recruiting services, at no additional cost when included in our PEO service, to match your business with top talent seeking fulfilling work
Our business revolves around helping yours reach its goals. Contact the experts at ExtensisHR today to learn more about how we can support your growth and achievements.