Ways Organizations Communicate Strategy To Employees
Ways organizations communicate strategy to employees. Metrics besides simply operationalizing important performance indicators also become a statement of how the creators of the metrics view the organization. A manufacturing site interested in the quality of its products might choose indicators such as “pounds of scrap” or “non-prime production.” A site interested in the safety of its employees might choose “number of accidents” or “number of safety violations.” Although these are important and are valid indicators of conditions in the organization, they also focus attention on undesirable events.
These could be stated as “percent of prime production” or “number of safe hours worked” and still give the same information. Either way, they are worded, they serve as a constant reminder and reinforcement of what is important in the organization. To the greatest extent possible, these should be worded to reflect the desired outcomes rather than the absence of them.
It is important for organizations to communicate their strategy to their employees effectively.
Here are some tips.
Keep the message simple, but deep in meaning.
Most organizations have a deeper meaning as to why they exist. This tends to influence strategy, decision-making, and behaviors at executive levels, but often isn’t well articulated for employees. What you call it doesn’t matter, your purpose, your why, your core belief, your center. What does matter is that you establish its relevance with employees in a way that makes them care more about the company and about the job they do. It should be at the core of all of your communications, a simple and inspiring message that is easy to relate to and understand. Strategy-specific messages linked to your purpose become tools to help employees connect their day-to-day efforts with the aspiration of the company.
Build behavior based on market and customer insights.
For employees to fully understand how your strategy is different and better than the competition they need to be in touch with market realities. The challenge is how to effectively convey those realities so that your team can act on them. By building internal campaigns based on market and customer insights, you bring your strategy to life for your employees through this important lens. Package your content so that it can be shared broadly with all departments within your organization, but in a hands-on way. Expose managers first then provide them with easy-to-implement formats for bringing their teams together, with toolkits that include all the materials they will need. The purpose is to encourage their teams to develop department-specific responses, and to generate new ideas and new behaviors based on what they’ve learned.
Use the discipline of a framework.
Not all messages are created equal. They need to be prioritized and sequenced based on their purpose.
Inspire. Messages that inspire are particularly important when you are sharing a significant accomplishment or introducing a new initiative that relates to your strategy. The content should demonstrate progress against goals, showcase benefits to customers, and be presented in a way that gets attention and signals importance. The medium is less important than the impression that you want to leave with employees about the company. Even if you are looking to build optimism, change focus, instill curiosity, or prepare them for future decisions, you will have more impact if you stir some emotion and create a lasting memory.
Educate. Once you have energized your team with inspiring messages, your explanations of the company’s strategic decisions and your plans for implementing them should carry more weight. To educate your teams most effectively on the validity of your strategy and their role in successful execution, make sure you provide job-specific tools with detailed data that they can customize and apply in their day-to-day responsibilities. It is most important for these messages to be delivered through dialogues rather than monologues, in smaller group sessions where employees can build to their own conclusions and feel ownership in how to implement.
Reinforce. It is not enough to explain the connection between your company’s purpose and its strategy — and between that strategy and its execution — once. You’ll need to repeat the message in order to increase understanding, instill belief and lead to true change over time.