Country Tune

Country Tune

My friends know that I would never choose to listen to country music. I don’t mind if they do, after all this is ‘Merica! Country music is just not my preference. That’s why it made me laugh last Saturday when I discovered a country song running through my head. I place the blame squarely on my neighbor.

You see, I was outside working on my lawn; he was across the street blaring country music while washing his truck. I have no problem with neighbors playing their music; however, this particular neighbor tends to choose one song and put it on repeat so that it plays ad nauseam. After half an hour of hearing the same song, I was singing along despite myself. Even though I had never heard the song before that morning, the repetition engrained it in my head.

Afterwards, I got to thinking about the power of repetition in the workplace, specifically with regards to an organization’s mission statement and core values. These statements and values should be at the forefront of an organization, and repeated often. Can you recite your organization’s mission statement? How would you rate your employees’ or volunteers’ ability to list your core values? Too often, those in leadership believe they have communicated these vitals clearly and unforgettably, but in reality, employees are often unable to repeat them when asked. According to a study published in 2013, “Only 46 percent of employees say their company is extremely/very effective at communicating their corporate mission.” (reference). It’s not enough to have your mission and core values printed in the manual given to a new hire. The mission statement has to be “sung” again and again to be learned, engrained, and applied.

This past year I worked with a group from the pharmaceutical company, Takeda. I was so impressed when, as I mentioned the word integrity, several of their employees piped up, “That’s one of our core values!” I expressed my surprise that they knew that fact. They responded with, “It’s mentioned in most of our meetings and forms of communication throughout the office.” Just like my neighbor, the leaders of Takeda have made a point of putting those items on repeat so that their employees hear them time and again.

Wouldn’t it be great to hear everyone in your organization singing along to the same song? It doesn’t take much to ensure that it’s heard: be enthusiastic when you share your company’s mission, say it often, refer to a specific core value when making an important decision, make the mission visual, celebrate those times when employees exemplify core values, incorporate them into employee reviews, and so on. We need to over-communicate what we see as essential.

According to the same Spherion study, it was discovered that “employees who worked at firms with clear mission and follow-through were twice as likely to want to stay with their current employer, and three times more likely to have very good or excellent job satisfaction.” Sounds like singin’ the same song to me!

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