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How To Craft A Meaningful Mission Statement That Engages Employees

August 16, 2018 | Lisa Fordyce

blog-mission-statement (1)Your mission statement exists for a reason: It defines who your organization is, what its values are and why the products and services you offer are superior to the competition.  

Since your mission statement is seen by consumers and current and future employees, the importance of making it clear and meaningful can’t be stressed enough.

Typical long-term care and senior living company mission statements emphasize a commitment to caring for the aging population and are often intended for those researching care options for themselves or their loved ones.  

However, what if I told you that your mission statement has the opportunity to be so much more than a consumer tool on your website’s 'About Us' page?

Here’s what you need to know about the mission statement, how to build one and how to use it to take your recruitment, engagement and retention efforts to the next level.

What’s The Purpose Of A Mission Statement?

Mission statements typically describe a company’s core values, philosophies and its reason for offering the services it does. Some organizations may be inclined to create mission statements that are long, comprehensive pieces of work. But in actuality, a mission statement should be brief—ideally, about a sentence in length. Focus on crafting concise statements and only hit on the most important points. 

Here are some mission statements from big-name brands for inspiration: 

Amazon: It’s our goal to be the Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online. 

Twitter: To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers. 

Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time. 

When creating a mission statement, it helps to gather input from a variety of internal sources, including C-suite executives, management and even direct-care staff. Additionally, organizations should think of mission statements as “living.” It’s okay for a mission statement to shift and evolve over time to better reflect the company as it changes and grows. 

How Is A Mission Statement Used?

The last thing companies should do is craft their statement, post it to their website and then forget about it.

Your mission statement should serve as a guiding principle for your entire organization. Even as leaders may change, a company’s philosophy and guiding principles shouldn’t. The mission statement serves as a reminder of what a company stands for.

It can also be a helpful public relations tool. While looking for new careers in LTC and senior living, prospective employees – especially millennials – are more likely to apply to companies whose goals and social causes are closely aligned with theirs. Mission statements can reel in workers with the compassion the industry needs. This is particularly important given the ongoing staffing crisis.

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How To Get Employees To Buy Into Your Mission Statement 

Gaining that employee buy-in is essential. Given the nature of the profession and the amount of care involved, it’s not unusual to think that today’s workers want to work for an organization that emphasizes good care over financial performance.

A mission statement can reaffirm that value. Struggling to transfer values into a short statement? Start by answering the following questions:

  • Who benefits from the company?
  • What does the organization do?
  • How does the company complete its work? 

The answers to these questions will start to shape a complete mission statement that employees can identify with. 

With your mission statement in hand, it should be introduced to new hires on their first day. By placing the statement on internal documents, training manuals and elsewhere, new employees are more likely to learn it and live it on a daily basis.

You should also regularly remind existing employees how they fit into the organization’s mission to instill a sense of purpose and help them find meaning in their work.  Consider rewarding your employees for behavior that contributes to your mission like not calling off and providing quality resident care.

When employees feel like they are active contributors to a cause and their contributions are valued, they are more satisfied and likely to stick around.  

Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer write for Harvard Business Review: “Why is meaning so important? Because when people find meaning in the work, they also feel a sense of ownership. The work means something to them personally…When people take ownership of the work, they are more committed to it, more intrinsically motivated, more engaged. And that makes for better performance on all dimensions.”  

Mission statements shouldn’t be taken lightly — in addition to being a valuable consumer tool, well-crafted statements can help senior care organizations attract, engage and retain top-notch talent as the industry continues to battle a workforce shortage.


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About Lisa Fordyce

Having started her career as a caregiver and expanding into operations leadership, Lisa has held senior executive operations positions at national senior housing organizations, leading overall business strategies and day-to-day operations to deliver quality resident care and services. She is one of the most widely recognized operations leaders in the senior living profession and is known for her ability to make an impact by emphasizing both business and quality care. Prior to joining OnShift, Lisa was Chief Operating Officer at Senior Lifestyle Corporation, leading the overall operational strategies. She has held operations management positions with Emeritus Senior Living and ARV Assisted Living and served as an Ohio Assisted Living Association Board Trustee. Lisa is also an avid volunteer, raising money for Lungevity - Breathe Deep Newark, working as a teacher volunteer for preschool and k-3 children, and participating in a Helping Hands program at her local church.

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