How to Build a Mission-Driven Company
Every successful company has a well-defined mission that imbues team members’ day-to-day activities with purpose. A mission-driven culture is one that not only embraces the company’s mission statement, but also reinforces it in every decision, from organizational strategy to hiring and firing.
Today’s workforce is looking for a sense of purpose, according to Deloitte’s “Millennial Survey 2017.” Want real engagement? Look past happy hours and ping pong tables; engage your people around a common purpose.
That said, building a truly mission-driven organization is no breeze. At ClearCompany, we know this firsthand, as we’ve spent the last decade striving to build exactly such a company.
Based on our experience, this is what it takes to create a truly mission-driven company:
1. Hire the Right People to Achieve Your Goals
Mission-driven companies do not succeed solely on the strength of their missions. Rather, they are carried to victory by the talent they deploy in service of the mission. When building a mission-driven company, all hires must be approach from this angle: How will a candidate’s contributions in a specific role further the company’s mission?
To assess candidates in this way, you must first clearly define your roles and the mission-aligned goals these roles will achieve. It is much easier for the hiring team to evaluate a candidate’s potential if the team has a solid understanding of the role’s objectives.
Candidates, too, should be given a clear understanding of the role, its goals, and how it aligns with the company’s mission and vision. That way, they will know what is expected of them before joining the company. No more unwanted surprises — for the new hire or the company.
2. Integrate the Mission Into Organizational Culture
If the company’s leaders aren’t clearly and consistently communicating the mission, it is unlikely the mission will catch on. Managers at every level must be able to sell their teams on the mission, and each employee should have an in-depth understanding of what the mission is and what their role is in relation to the mission. It is all too easy for employees to lose sight of why they come to work every day or how they actually contribute. When managers infuse the mission into every decision, employees can more easily keep their eyes on why they come to work every day.
At ClearCompany, we hold “why” training with all of our employees to ensure each one understands the purpose of their work. We recently conducted an intensive internal training session about why the organization exists, culminating with each of our ~100 employees delivering a pitch to the executive team on how their role contributes to the mission. While it was a time-consuming initiative, it was well worth it in the end. Not only does every employee in the company now have an executive-level understanding of why the organization exists, but they are also better able to carry our mission into every client interaction.
3. Promote the Mission Externally
You don’t have to be a nonprofit organization to heavily promote your mission. No matter your industry, your customers and your candidates want to know why your organization exists. Don’t bury your mission on your company webpage or career site. Show your customers why they should invest their time or money in you, and use the mission as a recruiting tool.
Additionally, company leaders should always articulate the organizational mission to the public with purpose. When a leader acts or speaks outside of the company’s mission, it can harm the company culture. Make sure leaders are always presenting themselves in a manner that supports your culture and mission.
When building a mission-driven company, you must radiate the mission from the inside out. Employees must rally around it at every turn, and customers and candidates should be inspired by the mission to do business with or work for your company. Open up your mission to the outside world, and you may be surprised how many people are drawn in.
A version of this article originally appeared on the ClearCompany blog.
Sara Pollock is head of the marketing department at ClearCompany.