3) Work with your teams to determine the mission statement
So now you’ve established a culture of strategy-sharing in your organization. Top management has the much needed input from the field and all employees share their opinions and know where the company’s compass is pointing.
Armed with an organizational vision and a mid-term strategy, it is time to write the mission statements for the company and each team. The mission provides the path as how the vision will be achieved. In other to be sticky, the mission must generate clarity, focus, team effort, personal accountability and inspiration.
This is a time-consuming effort, but the return on investment is enormous! In order for this process to work, CEO must listen and engage everyone, managers must build their own mission statements with their teams and HR must coordinate efforts to obtain an aligned structure.
In a NY times article, Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat (the provider of Linux and other open-source technology), explains how he built his mission statement and the impact this decision had in his company.
“We used it to create our mission statement. A lot of companies will either hire an external firm or have a management off-site meeting where, over a couple of good bottles of wine, 10 people do this. It took us five months to do our mission statement because we did it from the bottom up. We took in every idea. We had debates. We had work groups. It changed, and it was modified and tweaked. But by the time we finished, everybody — even if they don’t agree with it — knows our mission statement and the subtleties of every word.”
“… the best is getting people to believe what you want them to believe, and if people really fundamentally believe what you want them to believe, they will walk through walls. They will do anything. People certainly know what to think at Red Hat. We also believe in our open, transparent culture, and so everybody knows why we’re doing what we’re doing. So they will go around obstacles because they’ve bought in.”
4) Compile and revise job descriptions. Align them with mission statement
One mission statement that stuck to my mind is the HR mission statement of my first employer: “To have the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills.” Simple, yet so powerful, because it defines clear boundaries to the HR structure, often confusing in most organizations.
“Right people” means a structured performance appraisal system, recruitment and dismissal,
“Right place” means business partners that analyse roles and responsibilities (R&R) and match role needs with individuals skills and aspirations,
“Right time” means a structured career planning,
“Right skills” means training and development.
Once your vision and mission statements are done, managers and HR leaders must look to the people, for they are the ones that will drive the organization towards its vision. In reality though, a company has overlapping roles, unbalanced responsibilities, repeated positions across departments and roles created to fit political needs, so ask yourself some questions to guide the process:
- Do individual R&R contribute towards the mission of the organization and the department?
- Are there overlapping responsibilities and blind spots reducing ownership?
- Are some responsibilities in the wrong department?
- Are R&R public to everyone, allowing employees to go to the right person for assistance and creating a self-regulating environment?
- Are employees using their R&R as a badge or a shield?
- Are the best resources available to accomplish the tasks described in the R&R?
- Is compensation aligned with R&R?
- Are R&R nurturing synergy, teamwork and collaboration?
- Do R&R create a culture of “doing things right” (precision) and “doing the right things” (latitude)?
- Do you create a culture in which employees have a say about their R&R and priorities?
5) Revise and adapt
Once meaning and engagement is established through a clear vision and mission statement, a transparent strategy, aligned job descriptions and communication pathways, HR has the role to secure it.
Mission statements will change as market shifts. Strategy will be adapted as opportunities or threats arise. Leaders and employees will leave jobs and be replaced by others with a different skill set and aspirations. Technology in communication will improve, creating new channels for voices to be heard.
It’s therefore essential that the HR team is fully immersed in the only two stable elements of the equation: vision and culture. Through them, HR takes a new strategic role in ensuring at all time the organization has the “the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills”
If this post is to be successful, you’ve probably realized by now that there’s nothing easy about these 5 steps. It’s time-consuming and it challenges all managers to look into the way they’ve been leading the business for the past decades.
The reason I call those 5 steps “basic” is because they’re also non-negotiable when it comes to retaining Generation Y and inspiring all employees. As Yers fill more than 50% of the positions in the workplace (by 2013 in most developed countries) and social media creates an unbreakable bond between employee and client satisfaction, companies will have to create more space for purpose and meaning. Everything else we’ll share in this blog relies on the fact that this foundation exists.
How’s your company scoring in those 5 steps towards meaning?
How are you encouraging purpose within your team?