Mission Critical: Four Ways to Connect Employees to Impact

Kim Ho
7 min readNov 30, 2021

Employee engagement is a direct result of nurturing and promoting a strong company culture. In turn, engagement and company culture both blossom when employees connect with a clear mission on a deep, genuine, and emotional level. However, for various reasons, 61% of employees don’t even know their company’s mission statement — and of those who are familiar with their company’s mission, 57% are not motivated by it.

Think about it: If over half of our employees aren’t behind what we do, how can we expect our customers and community to trust in us too? We can’t, but not all hope is lost — any leadership team can instill a sense of pride and genuine belief in the “big picture.”

I have the distinct pleasure of serving on evolvedMD’s dynamic and passionate leadership team where our mission is to innovate and lead the integration of behavioral health services in modern primary care. Our work proactively and meaningfully addresses the ongoing mental health crisis, and our employees — from master’s level clinicians and care coordinators to implementation specialists and ongoing support staff — play a significant role in driving improved patient outcomes and primary care provider satisfaction. The leadership team is intentional and thoughtful about bringing in passionate people aligned with the company’s mission and values, but it doesn’t stop at the hire date.

With that, I’d like to share some tips in hopes of inspiring leaders like you on ways to get — and keep — your employees excited about your company’s mission.

1. Give Your Employees a Voice

Darrina Bledsoe, LAC, one of evolvedMD’s
compassionate Behavioral Health Managers

There are many ways to show your employees that you care about them. Competitive pay, health benefits, and quarterly bonuses are only part of the equation — you must also show interest in them as people. That includes regularly giving them the opportunity to share their thoughts and celebrate their wins.

At evolvedMD, we invest a lot of time and energy in hiring great people, but not just for their abilities, knowledge, and experience; we put extra emphasis on caring about them, too. Unsurprisingly, each one of them are passionate about helping others and ensuring people have access to high-quality mental health services; it’s a big reason why a lot of our employees initially came to work at evolvedMD. To capitalize on their compassion and commitment, we found it important to give our employees a voice whether that’s sharing why they love working at evolvedMD via video or celebrating wins (what we call Mission Moments) via our internal messaging platform.

Creating personal videos, sharing Mission Moments from their day-to-day, and speaking up during our monthly All Team Huddles are just some of the ways we’ve provided our employees a voice. When employees feel included and every voice is heard, everyone feels aligned and the mission is even stronger for it.

Takeaway: When you treat your employees well and give them a platform to share their perspective, they will want to tell the whole world about it. Not only is that great for morale, but it’s great for your brand, too.

Action item: Have your employees create a short, personal video sharing their journey. Or create a channel in your company’s messaging platform where employees can share their wins as they relate to your company’s overall mission.

2. Nurture Your Employees’ Ambitions and Passions

Team evolvedMD at the All Team Gathering in October 2021

Countless articles will say that the word “passion” is overused and overrated. I’d argue it depends on the context. For example, you can’t ask or simply expect your employees to be passionate about their work or the company’s many endeavors. That’s essentially assigning them as a cog in the machine rather than a human with specific interests, talents, and needs. Instead of telling employees what to be passionate about, simply ask or intentionally listen to them each time you talk to them, whether it’s in a meeting or by the water cooler.

After sourcing feedback from Behavioral Health Managers (licensed clinicians out in the field at our partner clinics) and Care Coordinators (external support providers and compassionate patient advocates), we launched an internal program called Collaborative Field Days in August 2021 to enhance communication and strengthen relationships between the two groups. It also provided Care Coordinators aiming to become Behavioral Health Managers to shadow, network, ask questions, and get firsthand experiences.

One of our Care Coordinators in this program, passionate about increasing access to quality mental health services so people can live healthier, more fulfilling lives, wanted to become a Behavioral Health Manager. After working closely with a few of our licensed clinicians, she recently got promoted to Behavioral Health Manager and will start seeing patients at the end of November. Investing in her personal and professional growth enabled her to feel closer to evolvedMD’s mission and take actionable steps to further define her role in upholding that mission.

Takeaway: Your employees are individuals with specific interests, talents, and needs. Acknowledge them, learn them, nurture them, and explore how to tailor them to support your company’s mission.

Action item: Invest in mentorship-like programs to help employees realize their ambitions, passions, and their role in upholding your company’s mission.

3. Recognize Your Employees’ Achievements

Stevie’s Award Winners at evolvedMD’s
All Team Gathering in October 2021

This seems like a given, but you’d be surprised how often employees’ achievements fly under the radar. No matter how grand or granular the win, it deserves to be recognized as it directly supports and, therefore, advances your company’s mission. That includes referring a friend or colleague to a job opening within your organization, subsequently them getting hired, and earning a referral bonus. Money aside, that’s one more brand champion who’s ready to drive meaningful impact and advance your company’s mission.

During the month of September, I spearheaded a month-long company campaign designed to build connection and camaraderie while expanding our footprint in Arizona, Utah, and beyond. This collective effort involved a series of simple, weekly activities including sharing recruitment posts on social media and making 30-second videos about why they love working for evolvedMD (like Darrina’s video above), among other activities.

At our All Team Gathering in October, we held our first annual Stevie’s (aka Oscars) Award Ceremony to recognize the people who garnered the most followers on evolvedMD’s social channels, got the most people to apply for an open position, introduced us to the most Arizona or Utah-based practices, and created the best evolvedMD video. The winners received a little trophy with Co-Founder and Managing Partner Steve Biljan’s face pasted on. All in all, thanks to their collective efforts, we increased direct reach on evolvedMD’s LinkedIn by 36%, garnered 6 new potential partner engagements representing over 1,000 primary care practices, and received amazing testimonials from thought leaders at our partner clinics and beyond.

Takeaway: No matter how grand or miniscule, acknowledge and recognize your employees’ efforts.

Action item: Create an internal, company-wide engagement campaign driven by your mission statement and vision. Reward your company’s top performers with fun, thoughtful incentives.

4. Make Sure Leadership Serve as Role Models for Employees

evolvedMD’s Leadership Team

Engagement starts with commitment and authenticity from the leadership team. Charlene Wong, my colleague and evolvedMD’s Director of People, noted in her piece on cultivating a culture of care and wellness that if leadership teams don’t lead by example, such as practicing work-life balance and leaving the office at 5 pm every day, then employees have no reason to believe they can as well. This line of thinking applies to getting your employees excited about your company’s mission as well.

Erik Osland, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, founded evolvedMD in 2017 because of personal experiences with his father, who was chronically ill. Many people on the team, from leadership to clinicians to ongoing support staff, are candid about their mental health journeys and the experiences of their friends and loved ones. You may be asking, ‘What about those who don’t have personal experiences with poor mental health?’

Well, to be cared for by others, and to need caring, remains a permanent part of the human condition. Helping others is contagious — numerous studies show that seeing someone do something for someone else motivates others to perform their own helpful acts. As Erik, Steve Biljan, evolvedMD’s other Co-Founder and Managing Partner, and the company’s first employee, Sarah Hanchett, now Director of Clinical Services, garnered more customers and increased access to hundreds and eventually thousands of patients, their progress in a seemingly static field was inspiring. Now at 50+ staff, each employee is motivated to advance the company’s mission and vision.

Takeaway: Leadership teams must intentionally lead by example, or employees will struggle to buy into the company’s mission.

Action Item: Think about ways to put your company’s mission in action and have leadership lead the effort. For example, is it altruistic in nature? Volunteer for a local organization tied to that mission and invite your employees along.

Your company’s mission will shape the attitude, goals, and behaviors of your team every day, and as you continue to build your team and organization, I hope these tips set you up for success.