How to increase team loyalty through corporate culture

When you want to get everyone rowing in the same direction, aligning employees with your mission statement can help.

How to increase team loyalty through corporate culture

Having a clear mission statement helps build employee loyalty.

Are your employees familiar with your company’s mission statement? Are you?

More than half (53%) of workers describe themselves as “not engaged,” according to a recent Gallup Poll. And another 13% are “actively disengaged.” That means they’re not really putting their hearts into their jobs—they’re showing up, putting in the work, and going home. If they get a better job offer, they’re probably leaving.

At the end of the day, though, a successful company needs employees who are committed—to what it stands for and to what it’s trying to achieve. How do you create a workforce that not only wants to be there, but that also works toward the same aims with enthusiasm and dedication?

“One of the most essential aspects of leadership is connecting employees to that intangible quality of what the company’s mission is,” says Tammy Perkins, chief people officer at Pacific Market International. Getting your employees to buy into the company’s goals can increase loyalty and help workers feel more satisfied overall by what they’re accomplishing.

Try these six strategies to make it happen.

Be clear on your mission

When it comes to making sure that employees are embracing company values, you must be crystal clear on what your mission, vision, and values are. “Vision is the ‘why’—why are you doing this work, and how is the world going to be a better place because of it?” says MaryBeth Hyland, a workplace-culture consultant and founder of SparkVision. “The mission is the ‘what’—what are you doing every day to make it a reality? And the values are how you’re completing the work.”

You must be clear on all of these things before you can ask your employees to commit to and align with them. “Take time to clarify it, to resolve any inconsistencies,” says Roy Cohen, a career counselor and executive coach in New York City. “Those inconsistencies can make being a model employee challenging.”

Show workers how they fit into the plan

Once you've clarified your mission, you've got to demonstrate how your team is part of the plan. Just having a mission doesn't necessarily mean that your employees see how their contributions fit into the greater strategy.

“If you’re not directly connected to what’s happening, oftentimes you feel like you’re lost in the mix,” Hyland says. “You’re another cog, and you’re not sure how your piece is connected to other people’s pieces.”

The more you can help people see how what they’re doing matters, the more they’ll feel committed to their roles. “Get really clear on how every single person’s role actually bubbles up to the bigger picture,” Hyland says.

Weave your mission into everything

Once you have a message, take it everywhere with you.

“Introduce the messaging both formally, through organization-wide communications and broadcasted emails, and in any language that you’re using when you're in front of employees or communicating with them,” Cohen says. “Reinforce it through team meetings and town halls.”

Informally, use the same messaging at offsite events and social events so it’s constantly being reinforced as important, as part of the company’s entity. “Once it’s woven into the fabric of the organization, it will feel real,” Cohen says. “It will feel natural.”

Be a role model

You can’t expect your workers to embrace the company’s mission and values if you aren’t doing it yourself. Lead by example.

“I’ve seen companies where [the mission] is just words in a handbook or words on paper somewhere that don’t really mean anything,” Perkins says. If you’re going to sit behind certain ideals, you (and the company in general) must walk the walk.

“I had a client who worked for a company that claimed as part of its mission statement that individual contributors who were offering up solutions would be rewarded—that talent would be promoted from within,” Cohen says. “But every time a senior position opened up, they would go outside to find what they suggested was talent that wasn’t available from within the organization. My client felt like it was a bait and switch.”

Make it worth their while

Build in incentives for demonstrating commitment to the mission statement. That could be monetary, or it could be an annual reward. “I know a company that does this well,” Cohen says. “They have five or 10 employees across the company who are nominated for their contributions, and those contributions don’t have to be monetary in nature.”

And be consistent in your intolerance of individuals who don’t mesh with the company’s vision and values. “Make sure that penalties are uniformly enforced for violating these policies, no matter how successful this person might be,” Cohen says. For instance, bullying is bullying, no matter how much money that worker brings in.

An employee’s commitment to the company’s mission should also be part of the performance review process. “It should also look at how that employee embraces the organization’s values,” Cohen says.

Revisit the mission frequently

Goals change all the time, and your mission needs to adapt rather than struggle to remain relevant. “If there’s misalignment, it will create confusion,” says Cohen. Therefore, review the company mission regularly to evaluate its relevance and modify it to reflect changes in the business, the market, and priorities that are important to the organization.  

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