Tips to Improve Strategy Communication to Employees

Tips to Improve Strategy Communication to Employees
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Strategy Communication to Employees
What good is a strategy – even a well-designed one – if employees don’t understand it?  If you’re finding that your employees are slow, reluctant or confused on how to implement your strategy, it is likely that your strategy communication to employees is lacking.

To get the workforce fully behind a corporate strategy, you need to be able to persuade employees of the genuine need for the plan, its importance, its purpose, and its relevance to their day-to-day jobs.  In other words, they need to “get it”.

Tips on Strategy Communication to Employees
Here are tips on communication approaches that are designed to reach all employees and encourage the behaviors that promote the strategy and improve the outcome.

  1. Keep It Simple and Real
    All too often executives understand the plans for success but don’t cascade the strategy well to their workforce. Remember that those in the board room have been discussing the plan for weeks if not months.

    You can’t expect employees to “get it” right away.  Slow down, couch the strategy in simple, straightforward language and deliver the context and the message in person.

    The less you employ a top-down approach and the more you rely on direct communication and open discussions, the better the understanding and the better the buy-in.

  2. Focus on Purpose
    Engaged employees find meaning in what they do. Explain how the strategy will advance the purpose of your organization.

    Why are you in business?  Why should employees care about the organization and about the job they do?

    When employees understand why what they do matters, they report being more motivated and dedicated to executing the strategy.

  3. Tell a Story
    It is much easier to relate to a message presented in story form. Try to bolster your communication with a story that appeals to hearts and minds rather than just to minds alone.  Inspire the team with a vision of what the strategy will accomplish at a personal and professional level when it has been fully realized.
  4. Reinforce Whenever Possible
    It’s not just the content of the strategic messages but also the delivery mechanisms that matter. Reinforce the plan at weekly meetings, through emails, on internal portals, and in newsletters.  Use all  the internal communications at your disposal.

    In addition, make the messages and the behaviors they promote an integral part of your employee development and performance management.  Go out of your way to recognize those individuals and teams whose behaviors and outcomes support the strategy.

  5. Actively Engage Employees in the Specifics
    While effectively communicating the overall strategic context is critical, it is even more important to actively involve your employees in not only challenging the rationale behind your strategic assumptions but also in how the work gets carried out.

    Make sure employees buy into the plans for success and are empowered and supported to define what strategy execution will look like in their day-to-day activities. More than just backing the plan, they need to define ways to implement and measure the execution of the strategy at their own level.

  6. Repeat and Model the Way
    Leaders need to consistently be visible, show the way, and stay on message. Each and every move should show your commitment to the plan, align your team, and build trust.

The Bottom Line
Craft a workable strategy, yes.  But don’t stop there.  Be sure your strategy is well understood and actively supported by your workforce.  Otherwise your plan is dead in the water.

To learn more about better strategy communication to employees, download 5 Expert Tips to Better Communicate Your Strategy

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