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Do me a favor…tell me in just a few words what your business is all about.  No, I don’t want to know about your business plan.  I’m more talking about the day-to-day.  What’s it like to work at your company?  What do the employees work toward?  What is the – wait for it – culture?

There’s that word again – culture.  Around the middle of this decade, “culture” became the buzzword of all buzzwords.  In fact, in 2014, it was “the” word, taking the crown as the year’s most popular according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary.  But this culture-craze doesn’t seem to be going away like your usual flavor-of-the-month.

Assuming that the culture-craze is, in fact, here to stay, then your company needs to effectively communicate that culture via a strong and livable mission statement.

The Culture Craze

This decade, we’ve seen an enormous shift in workplace priorities.  As the Baby Boomers check out of the workplace and settle into retirement, Gen Xers are taking the reigns and Millennials are filling in the vacancies.  While generational stereotypes are often a bit too generalized, specifically from a drive and work-ethic standpoint, it’s also no secret that, on the whole, there are typically generational differences in core values.

Traditionally, the Baby Boomers represented the moral authority: a generation viewed as hyper-driven workaholics who equated work ethic with self-worth.  As Generation X entered the workforce, dual-income families brought with them the “latch-key kids,” which in turn prompted these workers to place a premium on work-life balance.  But now that the Millennials are moving in and the Xers are moving out, the workplace is seeing that work-life balance premium taken to the next step.  Flexible scheduling and telecommuting shift the value to the final product, rather than the means taken to achieve it.

Ultimately, culture is the buzzword utilized to represent this generational shift in priorities.  Regardless of its title, though, you need to effectively communicate your business’ message…or be left behind.

Developing Your Culture

Happy employees work harder.  Harder working employees produce better.  Better production yields a better bottom line.  Seems like pretty simply math to me.

Need further proof?  UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School conducted a study that showed organizations with “highly engaged employees” outperformed organizations with “average engaged employees” by a whopping 203%.  Additionally, companies who placed on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list in 2017 averaged nearly a 250% better return on stock investment than your average Russel 1000/3000 investment.

If it isn’t already, developing or improving your company culture needs to be near (or at) the top of your priority list of 2018 goals.  It can and will make a difference.  Walter Soloman, a BrandVoice writer for Forbes, claimed that corporate culture is a “weapon of marketing warfare,” helping you to stand out in a crowded battlefield of marketing methodologies.

So how do you effectively communicate your marketing methodology/corporate culture?

The Mission Statement

A well-drafted mission statement serves as the foundation of your company’s culture.  It defines your company to any outside visitors to your website.  More importantly, though, it provides direction and guidance for your business and to your employees alike.

Southwest Airlines is typically recognized as a major-market value airline.  They offer affordable flights with no hidden fees.  Their commitment to their customer-employee focused mission statement holds them accountable to this each and every day:

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.

We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.

As airline prices continue to skyrocket and less and less is given in return, Southwest continues to offer low fares with all of the amenities we have grown accustomed to.  Additionally, Southwest continues to honor their commitment to no baggage fees and their customer service remains top notch, once again topping the list of customer satisfaction in 2017 according to J.D. Power.

With a clear mission statement, Southwest Airlines provided their employees with a compass, which has kept them heading in the same direction throughout radical marketplace turmoil.

Your Corporate Mission Speaks Volumes

It doesn’t just define your company.  Your corporate mission statement provides the foundation of culture on which your entire business will be constructed.  Employees who believe in your mission statement will be more engaged, delivering better service and products.  In the end, it’s those factors that will drive your bottom line.