Vision, Mission and Culture; The holy trinity for staff retention?

Published: 30th September 2020

Vision, Mission and Culture; The holy trinity for staff retention?

Achieving excellent staff retention numbers is the holy grail for most companies. Spending time, money and effort on replacing staff when they leave for an opportunity elsewhere is something most businesses try to avoid, but many do so unsuccessfully. A recent report stated that replacing an employee costs an average of a massive £30,000, so the business case for increasing retention levels is clear.

If staff retention is the holy grail, that makes vision, mission and culture the holy trinity. These are the three tenets that, when done well, will make sure staff stick around for the long haul.

Having a clear, consistent and motivating vision, mission and culture will help to attract the right people, appeal to ideal customers and form the basis of a strong and successful organisation that employees want to be a part of. These three things also dictate what customers can expect from an organisation. It can help attract suppliers who want to be part of the same mission and contribute towards it.

Vision is the starting point and is centred around the overall purpose of an organisation. A vision statement is usually something bold, aspirational and something to work towards over time. When organisations have a clear vision of what they wish to achieve and where the business is heading, it will help attract employees who both share and buy into that vision.

A clear vision also helps to keep people focused during turbulent or difficult times. This is true from the CEO right down to the newest employee to join the organisation. The purpose of a vision statement in keeping leaders and employees looking at the bigger picture has never been more clear than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when ways of working were turned on their head and businesses were forced to close with little idea of what the future would hold. Those with a clear vision and purpose would have been better placed to deal with the bumps in the road that the pandemic brought with it.

An organisations mission is where they set out exactly what steps they plan to take in order to achieve the overall vision. The job roles and responsibilities of each and every single person within an organisation will be defined and shaped by this, so it’s crucial to get it right and for it to be clear for all to follow.

The culture of an organisation sets out what is expected from all employees in order to help the organisation achieve its goal or vision. It details the values individuals need to demonstrate and the behaviours that are expected of them within the workplace. Behaviours serve as a visible demonstration of an organisation’s values and thus must always be in alignment. This is why it’s so important for organisations to attract and retain employees who fit within their culture and share their vision and values.

When an organisation has a well-defined vision, mission and culture, it’s imperative that this must always be at the forefront of everyday working life. These points and statements should be displayed in prominent positions in the workplace, spoken about regularly within meetings and appraisals, and all projects undertaken should be done with these things in mind. In short, everything must be done with the vision, mission and culture as the three most important things to consider.

When all employees are committed to an organisation’s vision, mission and culture, everyone will work together towards achieving the vision. On the flip side, when employees aren’t in alignment with an organisation’s vision, mission and culture, they’ll be disengaged, non-productive and disruptive to those who are in alignment. Even just one individual who doesn’t share the same values can be enough to upset the apple cart for those who do. One person has the ability to disrupt an atmosphere in a workplace, potentially causing tension, loss of productivity and countless other issues.

This makes ensuring the hire of only those who are aligned with an organisations overall vision is vital for organisational success and for fostering and nurturing the type of culture that is deemed to be correct.

All communication with employees, suppliers and customers must ensure that it aligns with the vision, mission and culture statements that an organisation is built upon. This is often overlooked by many, but the importance of it shouldn’t be underestimated as all parts of a business flow from the vision, mission and culture.

Communicating with employees has been far trickier than normal over the last six months as organisations have been forced to have employees working entirely from home. Many employers still have employees working from home full-time at this point and have no set plans for their entire workforce to return to the office in the near future. Some organisations have employees back in the office and working from home with a mixture of flexible working. Whilst all organisations try to navigate through this massive change, communication has never been more important.

When employees aren’t in a physical office space, it’s easy to forget about things like vision, mission and culture. After all, many could be forgiven for being more interested in the culture that exists within their own home working space, rather than that which exists in a workplace they haven’t set foot in since March.

Organisations must work to push the importance of their vision, mission and culture and help employees to see why these three things matter, even – or perhaps especially – when working from home.

Keeping employees engaged with the vision, mission and culture of an organisation, and therefore with the organisation itself can make all the difference to staff retention numbers. It’s no secret that engaged employees whose values align with those of the organisation are more likely to be loyal and stick around for the long term, thus saving organisations money and time recruiting replacements.

Organisations must also be proactive in their communications with suppliers and customers during this strange time. Letting customers know if products or services will be delayed because of the pandemic is crucial. Letting suppliers and customers know what to expect when they deal with an organisation takes away any guesswork and keeps everything as clear and simple as possible.

For organisations who don’t have clearly defined vision, mission and cultures, now is the time to work on this. No matter how large or small a company is, these three things can make a massive difference to staff retention, innovation, growth and success.


Insight from Nigel Brewster

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