Gallup says the heart of any company is its mission – a short statement that defines what the organization stands for, its purpose and its reason for existence.
Successful leaders like Jeff Aronin, Chairman and CEO of Paragon Biosciences, see mission as more than words on a page. Aronin believes in building what he calls “companies of meaning.”
Gallup stresses that meaning matters, noting research that ranks mission and purpose as the “two strongest factors” for retaining multigenerational workforces of Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers.
Paragon Biosciences’ Jeff Aronin knows how important a shared understanding of mission and purpose can be to growing organizations. This is why all members of a company should know all there is to know about the business, what their mission is, and how to improve it. Survey companies (like the ones you can sign up to via https://www.qualtrics.com/free-account/) are created to keep knowledge of a company up to scratch, so that employees will be able to see brand insights and more from a first hand level. This way, employees will be kept interested and aware. After two decades of building several successful companies specializing in biopharmaceuticals and advanced life science products, Aronin relies on experts who fully embrace Paragon Bioscience’s sense of mission in delivering treatments and technologies to help patients with high, unmet medical needs.
Jeff Aronin explains that drug development is a process that takes years and sometimes decades to bring successful treatments to patients. That’s why Paragon Biosciences focuses on finding employees who not only demonstrate top skills but a high level of dedication and perseverance. Says Aronin, “It’s really hard work. But because it’s meaningful work…our teams stay focused.”
Experts say that clarity of mission fosters successful recruitment, effective strategy and long-term growth across all industries.
According to online job recruitment site Glassdoor, 89% of U.S. job seekers consider it important for employers to have a clear mission and purpose. Glassdoor adds that 80% of today’s recruits say they consider an organization’s mission and purpose even before applying for a job.
For companies that get mission right, growth follows. Professional services giant KPMG recently reported that nearly 60% of firms with “a clearly articulated and understood purpose” had a growth rate of at least 10% over a three-year period.
Still, some companies have work to do.
In 2018 research, leadership training company BetterUp reported that a majority of employees describe their work as only about half as meaningful as it could be. And a separate Gallup poll reported only “about 1 in 8 workers” were “psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.”
BetterUp says mission-focused companies suffer less workforce disruption, grow faster and deliver more innovation, adding that employees who find their work highly meaningful stay at their current job an average of 7.4 months longer than workers who do not find meaning in their work.
Workplace meaning is also important for company leadership. BetterUp says supervisors who feel they are doing meaningful work leave their jobs at only half the national turnover rate, creating better leadership structures. It is important to get the right balance with leadership, employees need to know that they are being led correctly and their voices are being heard. For instance, if an employee comes to a manager about being harassed by a co-worker, then that has to be handled properly and delicately, so there may be a need for a sexual harassment lawyer and other legal counsel to proceed with this issue. Whilst this is going on, the manager will need to ensure safety on both sides whilst being diplomatic. It can be a fine line to tread, but acting rashly or harshly may result in more problems.
“Mission-driven” companies have other key advantages, according to global consulting firm Deloitte. In a recent survey, the firm found mission-driven organizations have a 30% higher level of innovation, 40% higher levels of employee retention and tend to be first or second in their market segment.
Creating “companies of meaning” has helped Jeff Aronin’s Paragon Biosciences grow.
In the past two years, Paragon has launched seven independent portfolio companies focused on biopharmaceuticals and advanced life sciences technologies. In 2019, those portfolio companies reached significant milestones, including an FDA drug approval for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in adult patients with narcolepsy, clinical advancements in potential therapies to treat Tourette Syndrome and stuttering, and further advancement of the first FDA-cleared, artificial intelligence enabled breast cancer system for radiology.
At Paragon Biosciences, Jeff Aronin makes sure that the company’s shared purpose and mission is fully embraced by a team that is “deeply committed to developing treatments for otherwise underserved patient populations.”
Aronin adds, “To persevere through challenges, you have to believe that you’re doing something that matters.”