Strategy is not just a matter for directors and shareholders; we’re all more invested when on a quest to meet our company’s goals, and work better knowing the direct impact of why we’re doing what we do. Understanding the organisation’s mission and direction should be considered essential for all employees, from the top brass to the office junior to the call centre team.
Include, include, include
There’s some pretty good logic behind why we ask each of our employees “are you inspired by the purpose and mission of our organisation?” Making sure everyone feels part of the bigger picture, and mapping each role within it, will motivate your team. The simple use of inclusive language helps. Microsoft’s statement is: “Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” The focus is on the customer but the “our” makes it clear that everyone is in it together. Sit down with each department and pinpoint exactly how their work will contribute to the wider strategy. It might be that the editorial team can improve revenue growth by implementing a capacity planning tool, or your tech team can help with client satisfaction by developing a new feature.Diversity of thought is a real advantage, so tap into your team’s thoughts when writing your strategy. This is trickier in larger organisations, but you can establish a representative group to cascade and feed back from their areas.
Knowing the strategy inside out
Recent Gallup research in the US showed that only a mere 41% of employees claim to understand what their organisation stands for. They also found that the senior teams are much more likely to be engaged with the organisation’s mission than the non-management staff.As the latter group is normally the customer-facing side of the business, companies could be missing out on their biggest brand ambassadors. The first step towards strategic buy-in is simply ensuring the whole team knows your goals. Market your mission internally just as you would with your external marketing, using a mixture of approaches: a speech at the Christmas Party, discussion meetings, emails and social media. We’d recommend setting aside a few hours at the start of every quarter to re-iterate each goal and achievement to the whole company, too. A company that also promotes open discussion and communication will have a lower employee turnover.
Inspire through examples
Soft drinks company Innocent holds monthly meetings to share performance stats with all employees, believing that this transparency encourages engagement. Like Innocent, try to encourage your employees from all levels to engage with questions and two-way dialogue, rather than just downloading facts (you can always brief a couple of garrulous colleagues to get the ball rolling). Keeping things transparent means sharing the downs as well as the ups, but you can keep morale high with positive qualitative examples. Put together case studies about how your business has helped clients, or collate a weekly staff mail-out of glowing customer reviews. Choose examples that show your strategy in action to really motivate employees to keep up the stellar work.Also in this series: