According to recent studies from a variety of sources, leaders are doing a dismal role in helping their employees grasp the company's vision and how they fit in.
You've most likely heard the story of two bricklayers. When you ask one of the bricklayers what he's up to, he answers, "I'm putting up a wall." When you question another, he responds, "I'm building a castle." Leaders need more employees who realize that they're not just constructing a wall, but constructing a castle in order to drive performance.
Helping employees understand strategy is important, according to research, but we're far from the wall and the castle. The statistics reveal that there are a variety of causes for this, including leaders' inability to do so.
Leadership communication that focuses on articulating the organization's vision, mission, and strategies, as well as how employees' particular roles fit into the broader picture, is a critical driver of how employees feel about their leaders and the efficacy of internal communication in general. The Grossman Group's 2016 Communication Climate Index.
Over the course of six to twelve months, motivating employees to help you realize your strategic vision enhances profitability by 22 percent to 27 percent. "4 Ways to Employee Engagement to Help Achieve Your Strategic Vision," August 2015, a working study of 100s of their client firms.
57 percent of Americans surveyed said they would perform better at work if they had a better understanding of the company's direction. Employee Engagement Barriers Study, Zeno Group, 2014.
One-third of executives (33%) doubted their employees' ability to accurately communicate the firm's financial performance to others. The Zeno Group conducted a study in 2014 called "Barriers to Employee Engagement."
Line of sight is a term used to describe this "fit." Simply said, line of sight means that employees can perceive the link between their personal aspirations and the aims of the company.
The advantages are numerous: ensuring that employees' best efforts are contributing to the organization's goals, as well as letting them know that their job counts. Employees want to feel like they're part of something bigger, which helps them feel more engaged.
The idea is for staff to be able to explain how they fit in. It's important to note that this isn't about thinking they know, but rather about being able to articulate their contributions.
"Talk" – and the mental process that goes with it – can sometimes be cheap, but this time "talk" – and the thought process that goes with it – can lead to increased focus and performance.
Employees must understand how they contribute to the organization's success in order to get there. To begin, they must have a basic awareness of the organization's priorities, which includes:
What do you believe your employees' responses to these questions would be? At your next staff meeting, do this exercise: remind your employees that you want to make sure that everyone understands how important their contributions are to the success of your company. Your team, after all, is great!
Encourage your staff to consider their work and contributions in the context of your team's goals and the organization's overarching plan.
Many employees are likely to focus just on their jobs, rather than the wider picture of how they contribute. You can also discover that your team needs to learn more about the organization's goals and strategy. Alternatively, your team's priorities are unclear.
Whatever the lessons, you've started an important conversation that you can continue on a regular basis and that can lead to a lot of future celebrations. And what team couldn't use a little more joy?