How much time did you spend drafting your company’s mission statement? If you’re like most businesses, then probably a lot. You may have even hired an outside consultant to get the wording just right. That’s important and time well spent – but the work doesn’t stop there. Mission statements aren’t intended only for glossy brochures and new employee orientation handbooks; they’re meant to guide employees day-in, day-out as they make decisions in the interests of your stakeholders.
However, according to an article in Harvard Business Review, many employees – including those at companies with well-crafted mission statements – don’t feel like they have a “north star” to guide them. The problem is that the mission isn’t articulated across the organization and translated into concrete actions for staff at all levels. That’s where internal communication, when used effectively, can make abig difference in employee alignment. Here are three tips for using internal communication to set your north star.
1) Repeat the message consistently, across all channels
Employees need to be reminded of your company’s mission and vision often, and in a variety of ways. Internal memos are a good starting point, but for staff who spend little time in the office, videos, internal messaging apps, and collaborative platforms can be useful tools, too. These kinds of digital channels have the added benefit of allowing you to tailor the message to specific staff functions and geographies. While your core mission should be expressed consistently, exactly what it means won’t be the same in the C-suite as on the shop floor, or at central headquarters as in a foreign sales office.
2) Provide avenues for feedback
Sometimes when employees say they “don’t really get” the corporate mission, it’s because some element of it doesn’t fit with them or make sense for their role in the company. Here’s where feedback mechanisms, with lines all the way up to top management, are important. Employees must be able to state their concerns, so you can clarify any misunderstandings and explain just how much their contribution matters. In addition to formal feedback channels, you can also run anonymous polls, add a suggestion box to your collaborative platform, and use video conferencing to hold informal one-to-one chats with staff in remote areas. Keeping the lines of communication open in this way is also essential for creating a culture where employees feel safe expressing their opinions.
3) Tie the mission to employees’ day-to-day jobs
This suggestion is all about making it real. While mission statements are abstract by definition, employees also need to know what the objectives mean in practice. Here, you can use internal communication to link your mission to specific project examples and achievements. This is also an opportunity for lower-level managers and team leaders to get involved, as they’re more familiar with the challenges faced by units on the ground. Our ahead intranet platform includes a Company Compass feature, for instance, that lets you associate news articles, posts, stories, and more to specific elements of your mission and vision. It provides an intuitive way of tying employees’ accomplishments to the bigger picture and visibly demonstrating management support.