There’s a figure doing the rounds on the internet from a recent survey by IBM, which states that 72% of employees don’t understand the company strategy. This, it barely needs to be said, isn’t ideal for business. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that employees who spend their days in the dark are less likely to feel respected, fulfilled or engaged in the workplace.
In order to get the most from your employees, you need to help your employees see the bigger picture. But… how?
Why it’s important to share your company strategy
We’ve all worked in places where the company’s aims and overall strategy have been… ambiguous. When this is the case, it can often leave the employee with a bunch of difficult questions. Is the strategy being kept secret because the employees are not deemed trustworthy enough to know it? Or has it simply not occurred to the management to share it with the team because of a perceived lack of value? Then again, perhaps there is simply no strategy to speak of.
These are ponderings you definitely don’t want your employees to be having. It creates doubt in your leadership and of how much you value your employees, as well as, eventually, your competence at a strategic level. Feeling out of the loop can cause employees to feel their roles aren’t important, and therefore that the work they are doing is of no real consequence. Before you know it, you’ll be faced with a far lower quality of work than you’d hoped for, and a team who are more than likely handing out CVs elsewhere.
Conversely, sharing your company strategy with your team can create a unifying vision, a clear route to success, and give each individual an empowering sense of value within the company. We want to feel our work matters, and to instil this feeling in your employees, they have to know not only what they’re working on, but what they’re working towards.
Tips for sharing your company strategy
All hands on deck
Assuming you have the space, once-a-month, a company-wide ‘all hands’ meeting is a brilliant way to build a sense of community in your workplace and to ensure everyone is on the same page. During these meetings, you can whiz through the latest facts and figures regarding your business to ensure that everybody knows precisely where they’re standing. If profits are down, you can rouse your team to pull together. If things are going exceedingly well, you can celebrate.
All hands meetings are brilliant for sharing praise, too. Be sure to shine a light on employees who have done well, and reward hard work. Then, to create anticipation for the next all hands, layout the company’s aims and strategies for the next few months, and detail some juicy incentives for getting there. In this way, your staff won’t ever find themselves feeling adrift.
As well as a monthly or weekly all-hands meeting, taking just five minutes per day for rapid-fire team stand-ups can really smoothen your workflows. Stands ups are supposed to be quick and snappy; a circle-round of your team at the start of the day in which each member runs through their to-do list for the day to ensure everyone feels involved and understands how they are collaborating as part of a bigger picture. These tiny meetings can quickly help your employees see the big picture.
It might be once a week, once a month, or even quarterly, but sending an internal newsletter or zine is great for showing your employees the company strategy and providing updates. Essentially, this newsletter should be a written version of your all hands meeting; think simple stats and charts, targets detailed, praise for goals achieved, and a pleasant, personable focus on the individuals who worked together to make it happen.
A workplace newsletter (as with an all hands meeting) can also be a great place to inject a sense of personality and fun into your workplace. Don’t provide your employees with a dreary list of numbers—make them punchy, visually appealing, and easily digestible.
Since its birth in Silicon Valley, the gamification of workplace feedback is gaining popularity in many massively successful companies around the world thanks to its ability to galvanise workforces. A platform to provide feedback and goals to employees in real-time is a great way to tap into the part of our brains that craves competition and praise. Utilising technology in this way allows you as the employer to update your company-wide (or team) aims whenever you need to, so the grand vision you’ve got in mind for the business is never more than a button-push away for your staff.
In many businesses, the only time two very different teams may mingle is the staff Christmas party. This, of course, is counterproductive. To increase your employee’s sense of the overall company strategy, try creating training sessions in which one team teaches the members of another team what they do on a daily basis and way.
Not only will this paint a big picture of your business’s grand plan, but this can also lead to exciting new ideas being generated. For example, if the marketing team spend an hour being educated in the daily comings-and-goings of the sales team, their next campaign may be able to factor in their learnings and target the consumer in a new, meaningful way.
Ultimately, any of these strategies will help to create a healthier, more productive workplace environment, and will keep your staff happy and loyal for years to come. All that’s left is to take your pick of the options above and get started!