Recently I read a statistic from Stephen Covey which stated that in a poll of 23,000 employees, only 37% said they had a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why. That’s pretty scary to me. Let’s make sure that sank in: less than half of the employees surveyed knew what their organization’s goals really were.
For example, let’s say your company’s goal was to save the rain forest, and your way of doing it was selling coffee and using all the profits to purchase plots of land and turn them into either nature sanctuaries or natural parks. According to this survey, 63% of your employees would say that the goal of the company is to sell lots of coffee, or they would say they didn’t have any idea.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while or have worked with me, you know I believe that a mission or vision for the company is just as important, if not more, than what you’re selling. The mission and vision are there not only to look nice and help people relate with you, but to actually guide the company and the employees.
Using the example of the fictitious company from before, your mission of saving the rain forest should be evident in each of your stores, in your branding, throughout your social media and other marketing, and essentially ingrained into your employees’ minds. A good portion of your employees should have chosen to work for you because of that mission.
So, what does this all mean? First, we have a communication problem. Employers aren’t getting the message across that they believe is so essential. Second, they’re not creating a culture where the mission is so evident it’s almost impossible to forget. Finally, and perhaps most important, employers aren’t teaching their employees the value and importance of that mission, and encouraging them to make it their own.
As a business owner you’ve got a couple of choices once you find out what percent of your employees really know your organization’s goals: one would be to drop the mission since no one knows about it anyway, and the other would be to start educating your employees. Personally, I vote for the second, because there’s so much that a mission can add to an organization, stuff that can’t be added in any other way.
To make sure you’re clear on your organization’s mission, I invite you to share it in the comments below, and we can begin the education process.