One of the opening sections of your employee handbook should introduce new employees to your company by defining your company's mission, vision and value statements. A common misconception is that these statements are one in the same. While it is true that they are closely related to one another, the notion that they are the same is simply not the case. However, when crafted properly, your mission, vision and values statements can work harmoniously to paint an overall picture of the type of company yours strives to be.
Your mission statement is a single sentence (or partial sentence) that briefly states why your company exists, and how it aims to make an impact on the world. When drafting your company mission statement, ask yourself:
- "What is important to my company?"
- "Why is my company here?"
A mission statement should be as simple as possible, while still being compelling, (somewhat) measurable and evergreen. Using stilted language - or worse, legalese - has no place in your mission statement, and may be confusing to the layperson. You want your mission statement to be clear to every person who reads it, both internally and externally.
A perfect example of an effective mission statement that covers all of the bases listed above belongs to Nike:
"To Bring Inspiration and Innovation to Every Athlete in the World."
If your company's mission statement is the "why", then your vision statement is most certainly the "how". In your vision statement, go into (slightly) more detail about how your company plans to accomplish its mission. It is important to have a vision statement for your company, but, unlike your mission statement, you may choose to save your vision statement for your employees eyes only. For example, Nike's mission statement is widely known, but its vision statement remains unknown to non-Nike employees.
Your values statement lays out all of the core values that your company abides by, and expects its management and employees to abide by as well. In a way, your values statement may be the "who." Meaning, if your company were a person, who would it be? A well-thought out values statement can be a guiding light to inform relations between your company, its employees, and its customers.
The combination of strong mission, vision and value statements can clearly and concisely illustrate your brand to all of your audiences, both internal and external. As a part of your employee handbook, these statements will very often be a person's introduction to your organization. So, it is important to craft statements that will reflect your company's guiding principles for years to come.
Get Help with Your Employee Handbook
Again, your mission, vision and values statements are one piece to the more complicated puzzle that is your company's employee handbook. Assembling a well-crafted, compliant handbook can be a difficult undertaking, but ultimately a worthwhile one. We want to help, so we have created the Employee Handbook Roadmap. It's a handy tool to help take the guesswork out of creating or updating your company's employee handbook.