Creating an HR mission statement is a strategic move that can help your team understand how their work contributes to larger goals.
A Gartner survey of over 180 HR executives last year found that only half of them felt confident in their HR functions’ capability to execute workforce planning at their organizations. In addition, only 44% actually have extensive exposure to their organizations’ workforce planning activities (full content available to clients).
We won’t go so far as to say that an HR mission statement is enough to significantly improve those figures, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Creating an HR mission statement is a strategic move that accomplishes two things. First, it tells others in your business what your human resources department’s biggest priorities are, and second, it holds your team accountable for making decisions that benefit those priorities.
In fact, writing an HR mission statement should be one of the first things you do when developing a workforce planning strategy. But let’s not jump too far ahead. Keep reading to learn what HR mission statements are, why you should have one, and how to write one.
What is an HR mission statement?
A human resources mission statement is a specific motto, goal, or philosophy followed by a company’s HR department. It differs from a company’s overall mission statement because it doesn’t necessarily have to do with what the company itself does.
Instead, an HR mission statement is tied to the talent and human aspects of your organization, and includes language that communicates your most important recruiting, hiring, or workforce management goals.
Why have an HR mission statement?
A well-crafted HR mission statement helps your HR department make decisions that are in line with your business’s workforce goals. Think of it as a point of reference—your HR department can return to the mission statement to evaluate how specific processes or methods help contribute to larger objectives.
Another reason to have an HR mission statement is that the process of writing one can help bring clarity to your workforce planning goals. Simply put, communicating your mission and vision to others requires understanding it yourself first. Think of the writing process as an exercise in determining the most important goals for your team.
How to write an HR mission statement
You need a mission statement that every member of your HR department enthusiastically supports. But to get there, you might need some guidance. That’s what we’re here for.
Below, we’ll cover three general rules for writing mission statements, as well as four things you should include in your HR mission statement.
3 general rules for drafting mission statements:
If you’ve written a mission statement before, these rules shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you haven’t, keep these tips top of mind and you should end up with a concise and professional mission statement.
1. Keep your statement short
As FDR once said, “Be sincere. Be brief. Be seated.”
The most effective mission statements are short, to-the-point, and heartfelt. Three sentences, max.
2. Use easy-to-understand language that’s specific to your business
Keep the language in your mission statement simple. Avoid jargon and buzzwords, but don’t shy away from language related to your business offering or industry.
Ravi Parikh, CEO of RoverPass, shared their HR mission statement with us:
“The open road is our calling, but our true passion lies in creating an environment for others to thrive. We’re dedicated to helping small RV businesses thrive in an industry that’s often unfavorable to them. If you’re driven toward the same goals, we could accomplish great things together.”
The decision to include the term “open road” was a strategic one, because it invokes a sense of adventure, which is perfect for RoverPass, a campground management software.
3. Incorporate an aspirational element
A “mission” is a task or assignment. If your business (or in this case, HR department) had a singular mission, what would completing it look like? Whatever you pictured is your vision, and that should be the aspirational element of your statement.
Jake Hill, CEO of DebtHammer, shared their HR mission statement with us.
“We feel it’s our duty to help people get out from under the oppressive heel of predatory payday loans and other financial scams. We’re looking for employees who share this thirst for justice and a desire to see the little guy finally rise up and defeat a multi-million dollar industry. If you’ve personally been affected by these lending practices, we’d love to have you fight in our corner.”
What we love about this statement is that it clearly expresses what DebtHammer’s mission is (to help individuals taken advantage of by payday loan businesses), and also speaks to their vision (to defeat the predatory payday loan industry).
4 things to include in your HR mission statement:
We’ve covered the basics for writing a mission statement, you’ve seen some examples, and now it’s time to start crafting your own. To do that, write down what comes to mind when you think about these four components of your business.
1. The core values of your business
Whether your organization has formal or informal core values, it’s a good idea to reference these in your HR mission statement in order to give a glimpse into your company’s culture.
For example, Adidas core values are performance, passion, integrity, and diversity. Adidas wove these values into its HR strategic pillars (its version of an HR mission statement), which are as follows: “To create a working environment that stimulates team spirit, passion, engagement and achievement, to instill a performance culture based upon strong leadership, and to make the Adidas Group the employer of choice.”
2. What success looks like for your business
If your business achieved what it sets out to do, what would the end result look like? Think big! For example, DebtHammer defines what success looks like to them with the phrase “…to see the little guy finally rise up and defeat a multi-million dollar industry.”
3. Who you want on your team
Defining your HR mission statement requires understanding the type of employees your business wants to attract and retain. This step is also important for your team: They need to know who to look for! But rather than listing out qualifications or personality traits that can exclude amazing candidates, this part of your mission statement should be a call for those that connect with your purpose.
4. Your employee value proposition
Lastly, touch on what you offer as an employer. Does your business focus on career development opportunities? Is work-life balance a priority? You can be as specific or general as feels right with this info; the idea is to communicate to potential employees how you treat your team.
An HR mission statement is just one part of a comprehensive workforce planning strategy
Now you’re ready to write your HR mission statement, but when you’re done, what do you do with it?
First, share the statement with your fellow HR professionals and gather their initial feedback. HR mission statements are meant to inspire, and if your team is not enthused by the statement you’ve created, listen to their concerns and make adjustments.
Once you’ve created a statement everyone feels committed to, don’t abandon it!
Showcase it on your company’s career page for potential employees to see and return to your statement each quarter as you plan new initiatives. Because your HR mission statement should speak to your vision, it’s a great barometer of how smaller goals contribute to your HR department’s highest priorities.
How’s the rest of your workforce planning strategy? Creating an HR mission statement is a great place to start, but there’s a lot more you can do. For instance, does your human resources software include functionalities such as scenario planning and HR analytics that assist with workforce planning? If not, it might be time to take a look at what’s out there and see if there’s a solution perfect for your company’s current needs.