Why a new corporate mission statement is now necessary for a digital working world

The economic effects of the corona crisis will be a concern of small and medium-sized companies for a long time. During the pandemic, many of them have had positive experiences with agile and flexible working methods and are now active in an ‘analogue-digital’ parallel universe. Seen in the long term, our working world will definitely become more agile, flexible and digital. Accordingly, companies will need a new mission statement as the long-term immutable basis for a modern corporate culture and a distinctive employer brand.

Authors: Daniela Kuhl, Training & Organisational Development; Imre Szerdahelyi, Communication and Marketing expert

Employees come to terms with ‘analogue-digital’ parallel universe

One consequence of the corona crisis is clear: Agile, flexible and digital working methods will in future be indispensable for small and medium-sized companies for a variety of reasons. In this context, in some companies the obligatory step, which in recent times has been unavoidable, of ‘beaming’ the workforce into a practically unknown working world of “remote work” and “working from home” really seems to be a project phase of digitalisation that was initiated too late.

Boards of Directors, management and HR departments have therefore in the past months gathered valuable experience from the mixture of experimental home-office working and stationary working in the company. What has been seen as particularly positive is the efficiency regarding working hours, including the elimination of business trips and employee commuting times, as well as the use of video meetings. However, also the promotion of trust on the part of managers, as they have become aware that their employees operating from home work effectively and conscientiously, even when not monitored.

This is also confirmed by a recent survey on home-office work conducted by the Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce. For more than half of the companies, a “hybrid mix of presence work and home-office” will predominate in their work models in future. This has thus resulted in an ‘analogue-digital’ parallel universe, which is increasingly characterised by agile thought and work processes, as well as sticky notes and web-based video meetings used as daily tools.

New framework conditions necessitate a new corporate mission statement

The changeover to an agile, flexible and digital working world will have long-term effects on corporate culture and the employer brand. Current mission statements must therefore be rewritten. Mission statements that provide the workforce with motivation and orientation with regard to corporate objectives. Mission statements that describe ideals, basic principles and a cultural self-image for interacting with each other. Mission statements that define the desired ideal external image of the company.

The new corporate mission statement should provide the workforce, as well as customers, business partners and the public, with appropriately clear and precise answers to the new ideals of the company, either for the transitional phase of an ‘analogue-digital’ parallel universe or directly for the targeted status of an agile, flexible and digital working world.

For the definition of a new, binding corporate mission statement, it is therefore important for the companies above all to find answers to cultural questions, as in particular the personal contact between employees at the workplace, as well as with customers and business partners, is being reduced and transposed to the digital world. This includes, among other things:

  • What does our future corporate strategy look like and what corporate objectives can be derived from it?
  • How will a manager manage his employees in the future? How can he best motivate them, express criticism and act empathetically online?
  • In future, how will new employees be welcomed on board, and how will they be introduced in other departments?
  • How will employees be promoted and their loyalty ensured online?
  • What values apply for us in our digital interactions with each other, as well as with customers and business partners?
  • How can we promote social contacts within the workforce, for example in person while adhering to the applicable corona rules, but also digitally if discussions no longer take place and arrangements are not made over lunch, a cup of coffee, or a beer after work?

Internal communication as an important tool in change management

The anchoring of a new and contemporary corporate mission statement is based on a well-thought-out change communication. A change communication that, in an ‘analogue-digital’ parallel universe, must ensure that the steps of informing, assessing, judging and confirming are successfully completed within the workforce:

  • 1) Heard
  • 2) Understood
  • 3) Agreed
  • 4) Act
  • 5) Retain
  • It is important for companies to actively design the process for defining and anchoring a new mission statement. Analyse the current situation and involve your employees. Highlight your strengths and competitive advantages. Create a strong team with employees from all departments, as the effects will be quite different. Define clear and precise core messages. Engage multipliers and, in the course of implementation, use comprehensive means of communication – personal, analogue and, of course, digital.

    Summary

    Many contemporary corporate mission statements define strong values that regulate in particular the personal interactions among the workforce, as well as with customers and business partners. But what does ‘personal’ mean in a working world that is becoming increasingly agile, flexible and above all digital? For small and medium-sized companies, it is important to define now what objectives they want to achieve, what they stand for and how they want to act. To define now a new corporate mission statement that provides a long-term immutable basis for a modern corporate culture and a distinctive employer brand.

    About the authors

    • Daniela Kuhl, Training & Organisational Development, www.danielakuhl.de:

    Kuhl-Konzepte stands for enthusiasm in supporting companies on their way to achieving future viability and in the further development of employees. Daniela Kuhl will support you proactively with agile thinking on all aspects of the topic of working from home. Long-term success and healthy working at a distance demand holistic and professional concepts. Individual consulting and modern knowledge transfer from a competent source has a name.

    • Imre Szerdahelyi, Communication and Marketing Expert:

    With his marketing and communications consultancy “Enabling Chief Winning Officers”, Imre Szerdahelyi strengthens managers, start-ups, as well as small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). He shares his experience and knowledge from over 3,000 projects for global market and technology leaders with customers. He helps customers to manage projects and challenges better, more efficiently and successfully with strategies, concepts and measures from marketing, corporate communication and brand management, this means creating values and gaining the appreciation of staff, customers and relevant target groups.

    My skills for your success (selection):

    • 25 years of experience in marketing, coporate communication, brand management and investor relations
    • Over 1,000 projects for enhancing corporate identity internally and externally
    • 10 years heading the global department at international market and technology leaders

    You have questions about my offer or a specific requirement? I am happy to help you and look forward to hearing from you.