Employee engagement

6 Ways to Connect Employees to Your Company Mission

Kathleen O'Donnell
March 26, 2024
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Employees who feel a strong connection to their company’s mission tend to go above and beyond. They know that their daily work is furthering a vision they believe in and benefit from. But unfortunately, the reality is that fewer and fewer workers today feel this sense of connection. 

Recent Gallup data shows that compared to 2020, employees feel more detached from—and less satisfied with—their organizations, and are less likely to feel connected to their company’s mission and purpose. This drop is especially pronounced in younger workers, who are the future of the workforce. 

This data points to not just a staggering drop in connection and engagement but also the future of work. 

How can companies address this large and growing disconnection between their mission and their employees? How can they be more effective at connecting employees with their company’s goals, especially the younger generations, in a rapidly changing world of work? We’ve got the six essential steps to take.

Connect employees to the mission: 6 essential steps

1. Have a truly compelling mission 

To get employees at all levels inspired to go above and beyond (instead of quiet quitting), they need to feel a strong and durable connection to your company's mission. But do you have a truly compelling one? 

Of course, all businesses need to make a profit to stay in business. But delivering ever-higher levels of growth for the sake of growth, and larger returns to shareholders and executives, is not a mission that will connect with employees or managers. Why? Because it lacks a larger and more compelling purpose

You need to have a mission that also speaks to what your company is contributing to the lives of your customers, your community, and/or the world positively. And, most critically, it must be authentic to your company. For many companies, this point is obvious—but for others, it’s not. (Did you know that Ralph Lauren didn’t have a formal mission statement until 2018?!)

2. Write a succinct, inspiring mission statement 

Once you know that your mission is truly inspiring (and authentic to your company), you need to ensure you’ve articulated it clearly and succinctly. A great mission statement should condense your mission into one or two exciting, inspiring sentences—don’t fill it with jargon or vague buzzwords. 

That mission statement should be communicated frequently and broadly across your organization so employees know it well. Your internal communications should point to it, and all your leaders should know it by heart. (This is also why keeping it short helps!) Employees can’t connect to what they don’t know. 

3. Evaluate your company culture 

Even the most beautifully worded mission statement can’t overcome a mismatch between your stated mission and your actual company culture. If your culture is broken or even toxic, while your mission statement makes the company sound like a bright and sunny place, that authenticity gap can be even more damaging to employee morale and connection than not having one at all. 

Take a careful, thorough look at the state of your company culture to ensure it’s genuinely aligned with your stated mission and purpose. If you’re finding that employees aren’t connecting with your mission even after you’ve articulated it perfectly and distributed it widely, look to your culture to diagnose a potential problem. 

Be careful not to ignore your company’s external image when creating an internal mission statement. Consumers today are especially distrustful of brands who espouse one mission when their actions indicate a competing set of priorities—this tweet sums up this problem (and lives rent-free in my brain): 



4. Replace top-down messaging with two-way dialogue 

Another way to ensure you’re connecting employees with your mission is to stop thinking of a mission as something that you develop at the top and dictate to everyone else. An inspiring and engaging mission should be a result of a dialogue between everyone at your organization—leaders and managers, of course, but also employees and even customers. 

If you’re re-writing your mission statement (or writing it for the first time), invite employees from across the company in via focus groups and discussions to get their input. Not only will you end up with a stronger statement as it reflects a wider range of experiences, but employees will also feel a sense of ownership and buy-in of the mission, and feel a stronger sense of connection to it. 

5. Train and enable your managers 

Managers are critical elements in connecting employees to your mission, but often they’re not trained or enabled to play that key role effectively. They should be checking in with employees frequently (ideally at least once per week) to give feedback and connect their daily tasks to the company’s mission. 

But too often, managers are too burnt out or overworked to do this essential managing, and it falls to employees to do it themselves. Train your managers so they know why making these connections is important. Then, giving them time to do said managing and communicating can make a huge difference across your organization in connecting employees to your mission. 

6. Tie recognition and rewards to the core company mission and values 

Recognition and appreciation are essential elements in any healthy company culture—and it's a fantastic way to help employees connect their work to your larger mission. By creating a formal recognition program centered around your mission and values, you can show employees that your company is genuinely committed to them and reward people for furthering that mission. 

Informal and private recognition is also great, but a formal recognition program that publicly and explicitly connects rewards to your mission and values shows every employee what they should be striving for, and what rewards await them when they go above and beyond. It’s motivating! 

Plus, fostering a culture of appreciation and recognition is great for overall engagement and just creating a pleasant, motivating workplace—so it’s valuable all around.  

The takeaway

Building a workplace culture where employees are deeply connected to your company mission is a recipe for high employee engagement and satisfaction. After all, it feels great to tackle your daily work tasks and know that you’re actively contributing to something bigger, making something in our world a little bit better, and serving something larger than yourself. 

These six actionable steps should help you get closer to a mission-driven company culture, no matter if you work for a non-profit or big corporation. Keeping your mission authentic, actionable, and in line with your company culture will go a long way toward creating a better place for everyone in your organization to work. 

-> Disconnected employees can cost your organization. To see what the cost of turnover is, try out of free calculator.

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