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There is one clear way to my mind to have happy employees and that is to hire by mission. I held a few jobs in my corporate careers but nowhere have I remembered I was asked what the mission of the company was, and how I thought my talent and interests aligned with it.
I think if we are to create a happy world, work life is probably the most important part of it. If we are to create a happy work life, we need happier employees, which form the bulk of the world’s working population.
One clear way to have happy employees is to hire by mission.
Let’s look at how this may be possible.
Google’s mission: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Now given this mission, who is a right fit as an employee? First of all, someone who believes that Google’s mission makes the world a better place, which it does. Google has made life easier for all of us since its inception and it is a great organization.
For Google, an engaged employee would be someone who comes to work every day with an intention to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
If he is an engineer, he would create systems to enable that to happen, which makes sense for a majority of Google’s employees to be engineers. If he is a writer, he would write notes and essays to explain the work Google is doing to make sure the mission comes alive. If he is a marketing person, his job would be to talk about the mission and its implementation through different media available- above the line or below the line.
If everyone who works at Google is hired by the mission, they would be able to articulate how their job contributes to the company’s mission at an overall and a minute level. It is highly likely that Google does hire by mission and perhaps that’s why their attrition rates are lower than the rest of the industry.
It is not only beneficial for the company to hire by mission, it is extremely useful for the prospective candidate if they see a match between the company’s mission and their mission, their abilities and their natural talents.
If candidates only apply for jobs at companies whose mission they find inspiring, and that should be the case, they would find their work lives rewarding and happier since there wouldn’t be a mismatch between what they see as ideal work for them and what they do on a day to day basis.
Google is a tech company and hence people who are trained in tech or interested in tech would be a great for Google. However, since tech is only a means to the end, people who are interested in search and how to best organise the world’s information would also enjoy working at Google and find their work happy and fulfilling.
Let us look at some more examples of company’s missions and what would mean to have employees aligned to the mission.
Forbes’ mission: To deliver information on the people, ideas and technologies changing the world to our community of affluent business decision makers.
Now, what would make employees of Forbes happy at work and what kind of people should Forbes attract? If Forbes were to hire by mission and people who were interested in the mission of the company were to apply, that would create a happy and fun work environment.
Since the purpose of Forbes is to deliver information to business decision makers, writers on business make a good fit with the company. If there is a history of someone who has already been writing on the world of business, Forbes should be glad to have him/her contribute since that person would only continue to do what they have been already doing.
The audience of Forbes is affluent. The content also need to make sense to the affluent audience base and that would need a careful and calibrated content strategy. So, someone who can think about a content strategy that would appeal to someone reading Forbes in a Mercedes Benz would be a happy employee and a great staff for Forbes.
Are we driving the point yet?
Let us look at another great example.
Tesla: Our goal when we created Tesla a decade ago was the same as it is today: to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.
What can the Tesla management do to make working at Tesla enjoyable? Hire by the mission.
What kind of prospective employees would be happy to work at Tesla? To start with, the man who runs Tesla is one of the most celebrated entrepreneurs of the world. If someone who works at Tesla doesn’t admire Elon Musk or doesn’t want to learn from him, it’s not a great idea. Secondly, what kind of interview questions should a Tesla hiring manager ask?
- Why do you find electric cars exciting?
- How do you think you would contribute to the mission at Tesla?
- What is the future of electric mobility according to you?
Anybody who would be happy to work at Tesla would have to be inspired by the mission of electric mobility and making it available in mass. If that mission isn’t exciting to someone, they shouldn’t work at Tesla.
Proctor and Gamble: We will provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers.
Now, P&G is a consumer goods company and arguably the best in the business. Now, if they are to make P&G a happy work place, they need to hire people who are excited by consumer goods, the pace of innovation and the dynamism of the job.
They create branded products and services and hence the process of brand creation is important to the company. So, people who are interested in how new consumer brands are created and sustained would find working at P&G a happy and fulfilling experience.
Kickstarter: To help bring creative projects to life.
Now, Kickstarter is a unique company in a way that it doesn’t build its own products and services and rather helps people around the world fund their creative projects.
If they were to make Kickstarter a happy work place, they should hire by their mission-people who would be excited by creative projects and would want to help people through technology to get those projects come to life. Crowdfunding is still quite new to the world and so an excitement about the idea would help too.
With these examples we have seen that hiring people by mission is a one of the most important ways to create happy workplace environment. Although, as we have previously seen, there could be several things one can do to be happy at work from an employee perspective, but mission and alignment with the mission is a core fundamental.
Thank you for reading.
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