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Tool: Purpose and mission

Typical use (type of issue/project)

To define and document the purpose and mission for each organisational unit and its functions. Often triggered by a new organisational design, cost imperatives involving headcount reduction, or new technology resulting in different ways of working.

Ease of use rating

Used by

Yourself and your team.

Tips for effective use

Work together as a team to gain understanding of your unit. Do not move on to create action plans until there is a clear consensus with all team members agreeing on the specific purpose of your raison d’être.

Signals of successful use

Having team members in the right roles with key work being delivered.

Signals of unsuccessful use

Feeling as if the purpose of the unit is too complex and cannot be set down, clearly identified, and defined.

Links to other tools

RACI, Role profiles, Process analysis, and Work unit.


Purpose and mission

When implementing a new project or initiative in your organisation, chances are that the purpose of a unit – a function, team within a function, or role, will change. For this reason, defining the purpose of a unit is as important for the rest of the organisation as the unit itself. The intention of a purpose and mission statement is to keep members and users aware of the organisation’s purpose.

To draft a mission or high level purpose for a unit:

  1. Review your process analysis maps and identify the main service the unit provides to its customers
  2. Make a list of the unit’s overall tasks and roles
  3. Use the outcome of the RACI chart to identify the accountability levels for roles and responsibilities
  4. Identify areas where a shift in the current culture may be needed and plan a workshop, if possible
  5. Contrive basic principles and rules re the set-up and functioning
  6. From here, formulate the mission and purpose

Tips for building an effective mission and purpose:

  • Pick the most important factors which define the unit
  • Limit to six bullet points
  • Start statements with action verbs
Unit mission, purpose COEs
  • Create HR policies, design and implement HR processes and tools in order to support the HR Strategy (HR long range plan) deployment
  • Act as subject matter experts within their own HR processes scope by providing the HR organisation with the best knowledge, proper external benchmarks, best practices, and trends and continuously developing people within the COE
  • Accountable for the overall process performance, monitor and evaluate KPIs, define and implement action needs to foster continuous improvement (including third party involvement)
  • Act as a change agent by communicating, training and coaching the HR operating model units and deploying new HR processes and policies
  • Define the SLA framework with HR corporate
  • Act as the last level of support in managing and solving process and policies exceptions