How do you know if your company is living out its mission?
It’s simple: Can everyone in the company — from an entry-level employee to the CEO — describe the company’s mission in roughly the same way? If so, congratulations! You have a purpose-driven company with a clear mission statement. If not, your organization has some work to do.
A Gallup poll found a majority of employees (60%) don’t know what their company’s mission is. That’s unfortunate because employees who work in mission-driven organizations are more engaged and less likely to leave. This is especially true among millennials, who in survey after survey report that making an impact is important to them.
Despite this, many companies merely slap their “vision” on their website and call it a day. This is simply not enough. Here are five companies with a clear mission that they’re living out:
The Seattle coffee giant has a direct, clear mission: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
But it’s not just words. The company follows its mantra by taking social responsibility seriously. Starbucks is considered one of the world’s most ethical companies. It lives out its mission statement through its commitment to ethical sourcing of coffee and supporting employees with quality healthcare and fair wages. Starbucks has also invested heavily in environmental stewardship. The company has also been known to pay its employees’ tuitions.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin specifically gave Google a mission statement the company could never achieve, Business Insider reported. Their mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
The Silicon Valley giant is therefore always striving to deliver on that objective. It’s part of the reason Google is known as one of the most innovative companies on the planet. As Google’s SVP of People Operations Laszlo Bock wrote, “There will always be more information to organize and more ways to make it useful.”
Greg Ellis, former CEO and managing director of REA Group, told Harvard Business Review that his company’s purpose was “to make the property process simple, efficient, and stress free for people buying and selling a property.”
His goal was to take “outward focus to a whole new level, not just emphasizing the importance of serving customers or understanding their needs but also putting managers and employees in customers’ shoes.” This motivates the entire organization by giving it a reason for being beyond profits and projections.
Old Navy has a snappy mission statement: “Making current American fashion essentials accessible for every family.”
The clothing outlet offers frequent sales for both kids and adults while adding some fun to the shopping experience. Sometimes a company’s goal doesn’t have to be to change the world but to just meet the needs of customers.
Here’s a clothing company built on a strong foundation of social responsibility. Patagonia’s mission statement is pretty solid: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
And it’s not merely pleasant-sounding stuff. The company donates time, services, and at least 1% of sales to grassroots environmental groups.
How your company chooses to define its mission is important. But it’s equally as important that the organization strives to reflect its mission in everything it does.
How does your company stack up?