Policy writing depends on a strong mission statement. Policies connect the mission to procedures. It may seem odd at first glance to mention mission and procedures in the same breath. Mission statements are a lofty expression of organizational purpose, whereas procedures are specific and detailed. Yet integrating the two is necessary for policy compliance.
Mission Statement Fundamentals
Make your mission statement concise and addressed to all stakeholders. The mission should clearly distinguish you from other organizations. Leave out all jargon and idioms. Incorporate your culture without making it too much of an insider’s view. Your mission should be understandable to anyone—even those unfamiliar with you.
Involve senior management and representatives throughout the organization when creating and revising your mission. You need executive oversight and workforce buy-in.
Once you have a solid mission, move on to objectives, policies and procedures. For each level of detail, check for any conflict with the mission. Confusion and contradiction will jeopardize the mission.
Here are 11 great examples of mission statements from a variety of industries.
- Life is Good
Spreading the Power of Optimism. Life is Not Perfect. Life is Not Easy. Life is Good.
- American Express
To be the world’s most respected service brand. To do this, we have established a culture that supports our team members, so they can provide exceptional service to our customers.
- Universal Health Services
To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.
In the air and on the ground, we’re committed to bettering the lives of our customers, crewmembers and communities – and inspiring others to do the same.
- New York Public Library
To inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen our communities.
To discover, develop and commercialize therapeutics that advance patient care, while challenging employees to make a difference and building a thriving worldwide enterprise.
- Walmart: “We save people money so they can live better.”
- CSX Corporation
To be the safest, most progressive North American railroad, relentless in the pursuit of customer and employee excellence.
To be the global energy company most admired for its people, partnership and performance.
We go further to make our cars better, our employees happier and our planet a better place to be.
- San Diego Police Department
To maintain peace and order by providing the highest quality police services.
Connecting Policy Writing to the Mission
Policies generally support objectives, which support the mission. If you have policies without objectives, take the time to derive the objectives. If you cannot determine how a policy connects to the mission (through an objective) it is time to review that policy.
An easy way to think of objectives is by stakeholder or key success criteria for the organization. For example, quality could be an important criterion. Employees and customers are key stakeholders.
Define your objectives categories and then the key objectives within them. If you already have objectives defined, make sure they are clear and relevant. Objectives should be specific but high level. For example, customer objectives might be low turnover, high satisfaction and increasing wallet share.
Once you have a mission and clear objectives, your policies have context. If you already have policies in place, review them to ensure they are as targeted as possible. Make sure they are consistent and not in conflict with the mission.
Proactive Policy Writing
Connecting your mission to policies and procedures is no simple task. Coordination between departments, management, subject matter experts, authors and reviewers is a big challenge.
Automate wherever you can to ease the burden. Set review dates on all your policies and procedures and review processes will automatically kick off. Set up review and approval workflows and routing happens without intervention. Establish roles and groups to make sure the right people all receive the documents they need for their job.
With automated, efficient policy management software, you will never again manually manage versioning and audit trails. Instead, you can focus on managing the policy writing process and distributing the most effective policies and procedures for your organization.