Do mission statements mean anything to today’s employees?

Do mission statements mean anything to today’s employees?

Recruitment companies are not just the selectors of fine talent, they’re also matchmakers. For example, a candidate, on paper, could be a perfect fit for a job post, based on their skills and experience; however, upon interview, the recruiter may decide that their demeanour, ethics, personal goals and attitude would not be as suited to the role as the slightly-less skilled candidate behind them. Acting like Cupid, should the recruiter choose the person who’s perfect for the employer - a decision not just based on skills, but on many other considerations?

In their mind: the less-talented job-seeker would at least slide effortlessly into the company’s culture. They will completely understand where the business is heading and be enthusiastic about playing their part to get there. They will firmly stand by the company’s values and mission statement.

Do you think this is an accurate representation? Is this there such a thing as someone being a ‘perfect fit’ for a role?

How do recruiters, potential employees, customers, stakeholders, and even the general public determine what a particular company stands for? Something that will indicate what the company is really like to work for. How can a recruiter judge the culture and values of an employer, to be able to look for that perfect candidate who will be ‘part of the family’?

Maybe the company’s mission statement will give some clues. Or the company’s values. Or even the vision the company has for its future, i.e. the goals the business is working towards.

Maybe.

According to workplace platform Rungway, more than half the 2,000 employees they asked in their recent survey had no idea what their employers’ mission statement was. Neither could they pin down their company’s vision.

Rungway found that age has some bearing on these results. Older workers apparently take less interest in the future plans of the companies they work for, compared to their younger counterparts - seeing mission statements as mere ‘posters on a wall’. That’s not to say younger employees find it easy to take an interest; many cited ‘too much corporate jargon’ as one reason they find it difficult to buy in to their employers’ visions.

It varies between industries whether employees contribute to, or are able to recite, their company’s vision. Though workers in the IT industry are most likely to be put off by corporate jargon in mission statements, they will at least have some knowledge of their employers’ aims. 74% of IT employees said they were keen to have some influence on their employers’ goals, culture and values.

In the survey, healthcare workers were found to have the greatest apathy, when it comes to their employers’ missions (60%). Employees working in marketing are the group most likely to claim that their employers’ visions and values are unrealistic, i.e. not truly reflecting what the company actually says, does and believes.

Says Julie Chakraverty, founder of Rungway, ‘Boards are really focusing on employer branding, and in the fight for talent, companies must collaborate with their people to create compelling narratives that motivate the talent they have to stay on-side. Unengaged employees will walk away if nothing changes.’

Research from other sources has shown that a company’s mission remains important, if employers want to reduce their hiring costs and retain their workforce for as long as they can. For example, 73% of employees who claim that they work for a ‘purpose driven’ company say that they’re engaged, compared to 23% of workers who believe the company they work for is ‘non-purpose driven’. Proven benefits of an engaged employee include increased productivity and greater customer satisfaction.

According to the experts, a company’s values can also inspire commitment and a sense of pride in workers, which helps them to go above and beyond their normal duties. One said, ‘Customers will never love a company unless its employees love it first.’ More than just a sentence on the firm’s ‘About Us’ page, a company’s mission influences how employees work with each other, and the level of effort they put into their job. Strategy and the commercial future of a business is important, but more so to the directors of the companies and the people who sit around the board. This isn’t necessarily what translates to the footmen and women on the front line. And after all, what is a business without its people?

The hymn sheet may differ from business to business, but it’s clear that everyone should be singing from it! If an employee doesn’t know or care for the values of the company they work for, is it a change of statement needed, or a change in the way its communicated?

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