In the dynamic world of contingent workforce management, where change is the only constant, the power of a well-crafted and regularly updated mission statement should not be underestimated. A mission statement serves as the guiding philosophy for a contingent workforce program, providing direction, purpose and a framework for strategic decision-making.

A mission statement is a “concise explanation of an organization’s reason for existence and describes its purpose, intention and overall objectives,” according to the Society for Human Resource Management. It is more than just words; it conveys the identity of your CW program to those directly and indirectly impacted by your program and serves as a guiding compass for the program’s actions.

Unfortunately, mission statements often fall into the trap of becoming stagnant and obligatory — documented and then quickly forgotten. However, if leveraged appropriately, they have the potential to be an immensely valuable tool for CW program leaders. Engaging in a regular review and update of your CW program’s mission should not just be a procedural checkbox nor a one-and-done action but a strategic imperative. This revisiting process is more than a just formality; it is a critical and thought-provoking exercise for leaders to engage in which:

  • Ensures your program remains steadfast and aligned to its mission and core values.
  • Acts as a gate check to prevent your program from veering off course in response to external pressures.
  • Helps facilitate the vetting of current and potential program partnerships.
  • Offers focus for stakeholders, providing clarity on the program’s direction and goals.
  • Communicates your program’s unique purpose and how it serves your organization.
  • Can be used to track your program’s performance and progress in relation to the mission.

Further, your program’s mission should serve as the baseline at the beginning of any strategic program development or decision-making process. Strategic initiatives often require significant investments of time, resources and energy. The mission statement acts as a litmus test, enabling leaders to evaluate whether these investments contribute meaningfully to the program’s goals.

Example: Your program’s mission is to provide exceptional contingent talent to accelerate the achievement of business goals and objectives. You aim to be a trusted business partner to propel business forward by delivering the right talent at the right time. Leadership is considering an initiative to increase program fees by 1%. How will this contribute to and/or detract from your mission?

While there is no steadfast rule dictating how often a program should review and update its mission statement, as a best practice, review your mission during annual road mapping/planning sessions. In addition, disruptions in the market (e.g., Covid-19), organizational expansions and new initiatives such as diversity, equity and inclusion or environmental, social and governance may also trigger the need for a review.

Best practices during this review and update process include:

  • Gathering input from key stakeholders, including executive leadership, CW team members, end users, etc. Does your mission make sense to them? Does it resonate?
  • Refining the mission statement for clarity and create a compelling narrative. Your mission statement should educate as well as inspire!
  • Ensuring its authentically aligned with the core purpose of your program. This isn’t just about sounding good. Contradictions between your mission statement and your actions or decisions can erode trust in your CW program.
  • Sharing and branding of your mission statement. Your stakeholders — including leadership, engagement managers, current and potential talent, suppliers, etc. — should be aware of what your program does (and equally importantly, what it doesn’t do), its values and its reason for existence.
  • Integrating your updated mission into strategic planning and execution.

To define and validate your mission statement, ask probing questions such as why the program exists, what it does, whom it serves and how it serves them. A deep dive into how end users describe the program and how your strategies align with the mission will also help to solidify the statement.

Like any business-defining feature, your program’s mission must evolve as your program evolves. Alignment with your program’s mission should be the focus any time your program undergoes an initiative to improve its quality, productivity, cost controls and performance. In a world filled with tempting prospects, distractions and internal and external pressures, the mission statement grounds decision-making, ensuring that every initiative undertaken is purposeful and directly contributes to the program’s mission.