Organizations with engaged employees outperform their competitors and achieve better business results across the board, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace.
For tried and true Balanced Scorecard practitioners this concept isn’t a new one. For years Balanced Scorecard gurus have been saying organizational alignment, making strategy part of everyone’s job, and employee engagement go hand in hand. They are the cornerstones of sustainable organizational success.The question is, how do you make strategy part of everyone’s job?
The answer starts with communication. Strategic communication must be clear and consistent to create a company culture committed to strategy. In my experience, I’ve witnessed organizations try all sorts of approaches to improve employee engagement and get get employees excited about strategy. Today, I’m going to highlight tips for communicating strategy that I have found to be most effective.
- It starts with on boarding - A review and discussion of the company’s mission, vision, values (MVV), and strategy map should be included in all new hire trainings. Include these documents as artifacts for the employee to keep with them. Laminate them, make them special. Most importantly, review them together and have a discussion about what they mean to the organization and what they mean to the employee.
- Highlight the MVV and strategy map on the company’s internal site - Put them up on the homepage! Keep the page up to date with important achievements towards realizing the strategy. (P.S. Did you know ESM can connect directly to your company’s SharePoint site?)
- Start every company meeting with a review of the strategy map - In my last place of work, the COO would cold call an employee from the audience to describe the strategy map to the whole group. OK - this may be a little intense, but if done properly and in good spirits, it can fun and add a bit of surprise to the show. No one was punished if they were incorrect. Instead, it opened the door for communication and clarification from leadership. Heck - maybe even throw in a Starbucks gift card for the unfortunate soul.
- Get creative: Hello YouTube! - Companies today are getting more creative with they way the make corporate communications. Internal videos highlighting company news, employee achievements, and strategic progress are a great way to engage employees from their desks. Quarterly updates is a good cadence to start with.
- Integrate employee evaluation communication with strategic communication - There is a lot that could be said on this topic (and I encourage you to check out ESM’s White Paper: Empowering Employees for for detailed recommendations). For now, I’ll just say that every employee should be working towards at least one objective on the corporate strategy map. It should be listed as a performance goal(s) with clearly defined tasks intended to move the objective forward. Managers and employees should be regularly discussing progress towards these goal(s).
- Tie company performance to reward structure and everybody wins! - I had the pleasure of working for an organization that tied the bonus structure directly to the performance of the strategy map. If the organization achieved X percent of its goals every employee, despite their role or title, received X percentage from the bonus pool. It allowed everyone to celebrate in the company’s successes.
The bottom line is talking about strategy consistently goes a long way in building employee engagement. The most successful organizations make a point to:
- Introduce the strategy map during on boarding
- Review the strategy map during company meetings
- Consistently communicate strategy in innovative ways
- Ensure employee evaluation communication reflects the corporate strategy
- Tie strategic performance to organizational rewards