Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus convallis sem tellus, vitae egestas felis vestibule ut.

Error message details.

Reuse Permissions

Request permission to republish or redistribute SHRM content and materials.

What is the difference between mission, vision and values statements?

Mission, vision and values statements may all be part of the strategic planning process but have a different objective. These statements may be written for organizations or for individual departments.  

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is a concise explanation of an organization’s reason for existence and describes its purpose, intention and overall objectives. The mission statement supports the vision and serves to communicate purpose and direction to employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders. See SHRM's Company Mission Statement Examples for a variety of samples. Questions to consider when drafting mission statements could include: 

  • What is our organization's purpose?
  • Why does our organization exist?   

What is a vision statement?

vision statement looks forward and creates a mental image of the ideal state that the organization wishes to achieve. It is inspirational and aspirational and should challenge employees. Questions to consider when drafting vision statements might include:

  • What problem are we seeking to solve?
  • Where are we headed?
  • If we achieved all strategic goals, what would we look like 10 years from now?

What is a values statement?

values statement lists the core principles that guide and direct the organization and its culture. In a values-led organization, the values create a moral compass for the organization and its employees. It guides decision-making and establishes a standard against which actions can be assessed. These core values are an internalized framework that is shared and acted on by leadership. When drafting values statements, questions to consider might include:

  • What values are unique to our organization?
  • What values should guide the operations of our company?
  • What conduct should our employees uphold?

In conjunction with a values statement, a code of ethics puts those values into practice. It outlines the procedures in place to ensure the organization's values are upheld. Questions to consider when creating codes of ethics might include:

  • What are common ethical issues in our industry?
  • What should someone do if he or she sees a violation of our values?

Management cannot create a new values statement or ethics code and expect immediate change. For an organization to have an effective values statement, it must fully embrace its values and ethics at all levels of the company and use them daily to guide its attitudes, actions and decision-making. Refer to What does it mean to be a values-based organization? for more information.


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.