Why Now is a Good Time to Review Your Mission, Vision, and Values
Why It Is Important
Your business is no longer solely defined by the products or services you sell. Businesses have an obligation to uphold ethical standards and be socially responsible. Consumers are cautious of where they spend, and employees are cautious of where they work. People want to see your response as a business to movements such as #MeToo, the global pandemic, and Black Lives Matter. Your brand messaging, voice, and actions will largely impact whether someone will choose to work with or for you.
Unfortunately, we all know the social practice of vocalizing negative experiences more than positive ones and social media platforms can amplify one bad experience to the eyes of others. Sometimes the act of not doing anything or remaining silent on a social matter can be viewed as a negative response. Spectators can easily become the loudest voice of your brand creating an immediate need for crisis communications and reputation management control. Don’t let it get to that point.
The people you hire, the words you use, and the influence in which you create all have meaning and impact. Employees can be the best cheerleaders and brand advocates for your organization, especially when they feel proud of who they work for. Right now, during this fight for social justice and the pandemic, you have the opportunity to ensure your business is viewed as intentional and inclusive. This is an important time to make sure your mission, vision and values align with the efforts you are making to be part of this evolution as a responsible business leader.
A mission statement is defined as being what an organization’s purpose is, its reason for existence. New businesses may set their mission to deliver a great product or service but as they grow, so do business relationships, the communities they serve, and the people they employ.
Here are some key reasons why it may be time to revisit your mission statement:
- No one knows what it is.
- The business has grown to be more than what they sell.
- The business has taken a new direction.
- The one you have now is weak or drags on too long.
Mission statements have the power to inspire employees. It balances business purpose while connecting the individuals who make it possible; sharing what they do and what their goal is each day. Consider its belonging and if the statement is relatable to employees and customers alike.
A vision statement describes what an organization strives to do, its blueprint for the future and how society will be impacted by its existence. Vision is important, it creates purpose and meaning, and leadership should be using such a statement to direct their teams forward. Chances are, some or all your people are directly or indirectly affected by the struggle for social justice or the impact of coronavirus. Many may be grateful for their ability to remain employed during trying times, as they look at unemployment rates climb, yet some still wonder what lies ahead and what the organization may be envisioning for its future.
- Does the organization they work for acknowledge change is needed or is the vision statement lacking luster and impact?
- Does the organization they work for strive to be part of change and does it strive to do more than just perform business transactions?
- Consider if your vision statement helps to contribute to the improvement of the community and does it reflect those who contribute to its success?
- Consider if it is visionary or broad enough to be far reaching or inspirational and most importantly, is it inclusive? Can every employee visualize with you?
Values are the core principles necessary to drive the business forward. Values are the basis for which you expect your people to perform, sometimes considered “unteachable” but bred principles, and they are the basis for which some ethical business decisions are made. Consider whether your values reflect the type of workforce or culture you exhibit, the way in which you expect people interactions to occur.
Reflect on whether the values are alive. Are they words on a wall or in a handbook not exuded through the organizational culture? Has a significant event happened in the organization which did not align with the values and do they need to be revised or reinforced?
Values should be incorporated into recognition, performance, and disciplinary action. They are an expectation for how the business is to be represented and they need to be present and reiterated throughout the employee lifecycle.
Some other noteworthy considerations when revisiting your mission, vision and values include:
- Keep the message simple and direct.
- Avoid scrambling to deliver a timely message. Businesses are facing backlash for having reactionary messages or actions that are not carefully thought out or lack the company culture to support them.
- Seek the perspective of varying employees. If you don’t like what you hear, consider it affirmation as to why change is needed in the first place.
- Communicate when a change is in progress. Transparency in the process supports cohesion.
- Preface the change with an explanation as to why now is the right time and what employees should expect of future changes.
If your organization is not in a place to make these changes because there is more work that needs to be done first, consider what you can do now to support your employees through this. Small steps forward still move you in the right direction. For instance, businesses are sharing what stance they are taking to support social justice and the welfare of their employees through advertisements, social media and website additions.
Whether incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion into their messaging, thanking first responders, or your own frontline workers, we are seeing more messaging around the human-side of business. Consider how your business supports social justice, racial equality, and perilous events and what you can do and say to be representative of your core values. Then when it is time, consider all message rebranding of details within policies, processes, hiring practices, EEO statements, and development programs, in an order that is most appropriate.