As the world continues toward interconnectedness, employees are prioritizing the purpose and meaning in their work. They are more likely to seek out companies that align with their personal values and beliefs, and they view work as an opportunity to impact the world positively. In a survey of young professionals, a strong sense of purpose was ranked as one of the top factors in job satisfaction and is also associated with increased engagement, motivation, and loyalty. Having a clear sense of purpose also helps companies attract and retain top talent. Employees are more likely to stay with a company they feel is making a difference and are proud to be associated with. They are also more likely to be actively engaged in their work and contribute positively to the organization.
Traditionally, companies have relied on mission, vision, and values as the foundation of their strategy and culture. However, recent data shows that these traditional elements are becoming less effective in guiding companies toward success. A survey by Deloitte found that only 21% of employees could correctly identify their company's mission statement, and only 10% of employees believed that the mission was being lived out in the day-to-day work. These statistics highlight the disconnect between the company's stated values and its actual operations.
The shortcomings of Mission, Vision, and Values
While mission, vision, and values statements have been an important part of an organization's strategy and identity, they are not always effective in connecting with employees. There are several reasons why employees may not connect with this traditional structure:
Lack of relevance: Mission, vision, and values statements may not always be relevant to employees' day-to-day work experiences. Employees may feel disengaged and uninspired if they do not see the connection between their work and the company's overarching goals and values.
Vagueness: Some mission, vision, and values statements can be too general or vague, making it difficult for employees to understand how they contribute to the company's success. Employees may feel less motivated and engaged when they do not understand how their work fits into the bigger picture.
Disconnect from company culture: If the company's culture and behavior do not align with the stated mission, vision, and values, employees may question the authenticity of these statements. When employees see a disconnect between what the company says and what it does, they may feel disillusioned and disconnected from the organization.
Lack of communication: If the mission, vision, and values statements are not effectively communicated to employees, they may not understand the importance of these statements or how they contribute to the company's success. A lack of communication can also prevent employees from seeing the impact of their work on the company's goals and values.
An ideal approach to Organizational Strategy
Companies can create a more meaningful and relevant framework for connecting with employees by taking a more cohesive approach to organizational design. This approach can help employees understand their work's impact, feel more motivated and engaged, and be more connected to the company's purpose and values.
Inspiration represents the company's fundamental belief and purpose, serving as a guide for behavior and decision-making. By identifying its core inspiration, a company can align its strategy with its purpose and ensure that it stays true to what is most important. The inspiration statement communicates why the organization deserves to exist.
Drive articulates how an organization motivates people and aligns resources to achieve its goals. With a clear sense of drive, organizations focus their efforts and resources, motivated by the organization's inspiration. The drive statement communicates what motivates the organization to serve its customers, community, and employees.
Experience communicates the organization's norms for performance, behavior, ethics, and outcomes. Defining a shared experience helps create a sense of alignment, psychological safety, and community. The experience statement communicates how the organization engages with customers, employees, competitors, and the community.
Accountability communicates the organization's commitment to maintaining consistency with beliefs and ideals. Maintaining accountability demonstrates the organization takes its role in supporting customers, employees, and the community seriously. The accountability statement communicates the intention to maintain standards, support productive behaviors, and adopt improvements based on learned experience.
Legacy communicates that the organization's outlook commitment is beyond the short-term goals and focuses on the long-term impact that the organization and its employees will have on the world. By considering legacy, an organization can ensure that its actions are aligned with the long-term needs of customers and their community. The legacy statement communicates the impact the organization intends to leave on the world, in its community, for its customers, by its employees.
The benefits of a new approach
By embracing an ideal approach to organizational design and strategy, individuals can work together to create a dynamic and adaptive organization better equipped to navigate the challenges of the highly visible and interconnected business landscape. This approach creates a clear sense of purpose and direction and ensures everyone is working towards the same goals, leading to increased employee engagement and motivation. It also aligns the company's strategy with its day-to-day operations and has the potential to improve the overall effectiveness and success of the organization. This new approach helps communicate what an organization means, why it matters, how it operates, and what it intends to leave behind. The ideal organization connects its purpose to its people and to its community.