How mission statements can improve millennial happiness

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The reevaluation of a company’s mission statement could be a stepping stone to a happier and more inspired workforce. And it won’t cost management a dime.

Employees are working more than 40 hours a week due to an increased workload, according to a new report released by Staples Business Advantage, which also found that those workers are unhappy in their job.

Almost half (47%) of employees say burnout is motivating them to look for another job. Unsurprisingly, 67% of employees say they would be happier with an increased salary, according to the Staples “Workplace Index 2016” report.

But with small tweaks, says workplace researcher Jacob Morgan, employers can improve happiness among employees, particularly millennials, without giving them raises.

“Every time we hear “millennials,” people tend to freak out a little,” says Morgan, the author of The Employee Experience Advantage (2017). “Although they are very similar [to Gen Xers], millennials tend to want real-time feedback, communication, career advancement opportunities, and learning and growth.”

Morgan adds “a reason for being” to that list of millennial expectations, which should become part of the company’s mission statement.

For example, Google’s mission “to organize the world's information” is unattainable, Morgan says, which allows the company to continue moving forward.

“The mission statement needs to show the impact on the world or community,” he says.

Meanwhile, bad company mission statements focus on vague and terminology like “generating revenue” and “superior customer service,” Morgan says.

Employees need a “true mission” to connect to, he says. “The mission statement shouldn’t be about revenue or profits or any type of business/financial methods.”

A strong mission statement sends a message to employees that their job is worthwhile.

“Connect what the employee does to the impact that the employee has on the organization,” says Morgan. “When employees have a clear understanding of the work they’re doing … [they] absolutely feel happier. You feel like you have meaning, you feel like you have a goal.”

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