Secret Mission?

i4cp Study: Most Companies Have Mission Statements, but Don't Ask Employees to Repeat Them

SEATTLE, WA (Sept. 10, 2008) - A recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found that, while almost 84% of organizations queried have a mission statement in place, 62% of those companies said that just half of their employees could repeat the company mission statement if asked. In some organizations the memory loss is more acute: Two of 10 companies said that just 10% could echo their mission statement.

In the eyes of many companies, this problem isn't the result of a lack of effort or a bland mission. A full two-thirds said their mission statement has been effectively communicated to all employees, and almost half the companies surveyed said their mission statement "inspires" employees to a high or very high extent. More than two-thirds (35%) of polled companies also feel that their mission statement influences their employees' behavior to a high or very high extent.

"It's not uncommon for people, particularly those in leadership roles, to think that the core message coming from their mission statement is inspiring and that it permeates the company," states Mary Key, Pillar Director for i4cp. "But we find time and again that that's rarely true. To really get their mission statement message across, leaders need to overcommunicate and, whenever possible, build elements of their mission statement into other correspondence. Without constant reinforcement, companies shouldn't be surprised if employees can't remember what the statement says."

Clearly, many companies are staunch believers in the power of a good mission statement. When asked how useful their mission statement was to the organization, 35% of companies overall said it was "quite useful" (that jumps to 46% in companies with more than 10,000 employees), and 31% said they feel their organization's mission statement is "essential." And, while almost half of the respondents (46%) see their mission statement as a public relations device to a high or very high extent, a full 64% view a meaningful mission statement as making their organization a "more attractive place to work."

The Taking the Pulse: Mission Statement survey was conducted by i4cp, in conjunction with, in September 2008. There was a total of 262 respondents. The full results of the survey are available exclusively for all i4cp corporate members.

About i4cp, inc.

i4cp is the world's largest private network of corporations focused on improving workforce productivity. Our vendor-free community facilitates innovation by giving our members - among the largest and most respected organizations in the world - access to:
  • Peers to spark new ideas and prevent "reinventing the wheel,"
  • Research to enable members to understand current practices and next practices,
  • Tools to put ideas and research into action,
  • Technology to enable members to easily access tailored information and execute workforce strategies.

With more than 40 years of experience and the industry's largest team of human capital analysts, i4cp is the definitive destination for organizations seeking innovative ways to improve workforce productivity. For more information, visit

Greg Pernula
Director of Research Services, i4cp, inc.
(727) 345-2226
Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.