Organizational Mission as a Core Dimension in Employee Retention


  • William Brown
  • Carlton F. Yoshioka
  • Pablo Munoz


mission, employee retention, employee satisfaction, employee compensation


Organizations rely on their mission to attract resources and guide decision-making. The mission is more than a statement or a symbol; it is a tool that provides a clear, compelling statement of purpose that is disseminated both internally and externally. Increasingly mission statements are recognized as a strong management tool that can motivate employees and keep them focused on the purpose of the organization. Often times, the mission statement attracts clients, donors, funders, employees, and volunteers to a nonprofit organization. Reliance on the mission as a management tool is recognized as an effective strategy to improve performance in many organizations. Given its significant and fundamental role relatively little is known about how missions are perceived by employees and how those perceptions relate to other organizational attitudes (e.g., satisfaction) and behaviors (e.g., turnover).

This research effort investigated employee attitudes toward the mission in a youth and recreation service organization. Specifically, this study investigated how employee attitudes toward the mission were related to employee satisfaction and to what extent attitudes toward the mission accounted for expressed intentions to stay with the organization. An anonymous survey was distributed to 991 employees of a multiple-branch YMCA (nonprofit youth and recreation services organization) with 16 geographically dispersed locations.

In general, the employees expressed positive attitudes toward the mission of the organization and those attitudes were related to employee satisfaction and intentions to remain with the organization. However, dissatisfaction with pay tended to override mission attachment as a rationale for staying with the organization, especially for full-time employees. Mission attachment seems to be an important determinant of retention, but the findings suggest mission should be utilized with other intrinsic factors to help dampen the impact of perceived lower salaries. This implies that mission might be more salient in attracting employees, but less effective at retaining them. Implications pinpoint the importance of communications and the role of supervisors and managers working directly with both part-time and full-time employees to increase job satisfaction and employee retention.





Regular Papers