3 Ideas for Communicating Your Mission

Posted July 19, 2017

A strong company mission is effective only if people know what it is. Once the leadership team has set a mission, it’s time to get the word out about it so all employees understand it and can incorporate it into their work. Doing so boosts company culture and gets employees moving in the same direction.

“Everyone wants to feel significant and feel that they add value and make a difference, and a mission makes it happen,” says Cydney Koukol, chief communication officer at Talent Plus.

Here are 3 ideas for communicating your mission so people understand it and adopt it:

Begin with Full Leadership Buy-In

Mission communication starts at the top. It must be clear to employees what the mission is through behaviors and priorities, and that starts with the CEO and executive team, says Anne Bahr Thompson, founder of Onesixtyfourth, a brand consultancy.

When leaders can express the mission in their own words through shared stories and in their everyday actions, it becomes a living, relatable tool, Thompson says.

“Gone are the days where didactic edicts can be sustained throughout an organization for any length of time,” Thompson says.

Leadership support and embodiment bring the mission to life, making it more than just a set of words people memorize and recite without meaning.

Embed the Mission into Talent Management

To further bring the company mission to the employee level, company leaders and managers should ensure it’s incorporated in all aspects of talent management. Recruiting and onboarding as well as policies and procedures must all be informed by the mission to ensure employees understand it. Each hire is critical to supporting the mission, Koukol says, and determining whether a candidate is a person who can embrace and carry out the company’s mission, vision and values each day is critical to success.

When hiring, determine the kinds of skills, values and experience requirements that can help make the mission a reality, experts say. Include information in onboarding to show new employees that the organization takes the mission seriously, and ensure your company culture makes it clear to them how important the mission is to everyone during those first few months. This approach helps hard-wire the mission into everything people do, Koukol says.

Reinforce the Connections with Employees’ Work

Organizations often fail to connect the dots between what an employee is doing and how that supports the company mission. Too often organizations over-communicate the mission until it becomes a mere slogan that is routinely ignored, says Nancy Halpern, principal at KNH Associates, a business communications and leadership advisory firm.

Managers should discuss with employees the company’s mission, how their work fits into the bigger picture and what success looks like under the mission. These discussions should be frequent and could be incorporated into feedback sessions. Talk about what the mission means to each employee, Halpern says, and how their successes are a part of the overall success of the company.

— Mary Ellen Slayter