Communicating strategy to employees (with steps and tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Clearly communicating strategy to employees can help them see how their role supports the overall business objectives. This can support them in accepting major changes easily and improve their engagement. Learning how to communicate high-level strategies to employees can ensure they align with the visions and goals of the company. In this article, we explain how to communicate a business strategy, discuss how to keep your team aligned and explore obstacles to strategic alignment.

How to be communicating strategy to employees

Communicating strategy to employees can help improve employee participation and engagement. Here are steps you can use to communicate your strategy effectively:

1. Communicate your vision

The first step to communicating your strategy is to start with your vision. Let employees know how they fit into the organisation's vision. Establish the problem you're trying to solve and what you stand to gain by solving it. Explain it in simple terms that employees can relate to and demonstrate how achieving that vision benefits the organisation.

Related: 7 ways to communicate effectively at work

2. Set measurable and clear objectives

Set objectives for your project or strategy so employees can understand what they're working towards. Consider setting measurable and specific goals, such as business, technical, quality, financial, marketing, compliance and performance objectives. For example, you can set an objective such as improve monthly customer acquisition by 10%. That way, employees can understand the specific objectives they require to complete to achieve the overall goal, such as improving sales.

Related: How to develop SMART goals (with examples)

3. Break down strategies into outputs

After communicating your objectives, explain to the team how they can achieve them. This means breaking down the vision into actionable steps. Another way to break down your strategy is to describe the goal you want to achieve and the inputs required to meet that goal. Consider using leading and lagging indicators to contextualise goals in everyday processes better.

Leading indicators are the inputs that can affect a potential outcome. Your leading indicators influence your lagging indicators. For example, if your objective is to increase customer acquisition by 10%, the leading indicators could be social media engagement or backlinks. Lagging indicators is an indicator that occurs after a long-term trend, such as profit and revenue. So, if you focus on the leading indicators, you can mitigate the lagging indicators.

4. Outline clear milestones

Having set your goals and visions, it's time to develop and communicate your timeline. You can visualise your timeline using a timeline infographic or roadmap to help your team understand them clearly. Consider setting deadlines for all deliverables and objectives to guide your team in managing their time and prioritising urgent tasks to ensure they achieve the set objectives and, thus, the goals.

5. Identify ownership

The last step is delegating tasks such that everyone understands their responsibilities. Assigning responsibilities to employees gives them ownership, which can motivate them to achieve their goals. Consider your team's abilities when assigning tasks and ownership. For example, if you give one team ownership of achieving a specific objective, be clear on whether they're to find solutions to a particular problem or coordinate a specific process.

Related: How to delegate tasks in 9 steps (plus skills and importance)

Ways to keep your team aligned with the set strategies

After communicating your strategy, it's your responsibility to monitor your team to ensure they stay on track with the set goals and objectives. Here are ways you can use to keep your team aligned:

Meet regularly

Set regular meetings to remind your team of the set goals and objectives. Your team can report their progress and discuss any challenges they may face. Encourage open communication, so your team can know you're approachable anytime and are available to answer their questions. During the meetings, you can also provide feedback on their work and encourage them to keep working towards their goals.

Provide updates

Providing updates can help motivate employees to keep working towards high-level goals, for they understand how their work contributes to meeting those milestones. Let them know the status of broader goals and projects. It's essential you remove any barriers between the staff and management so that they can feel part of the organisation and it also helps to gain their trust.

You may also inform them of successful projects and those that were not, plus any changes the company plans to make. It's essential you remove any barriers between the staff and management so they can feel like part of the organisation. It also helps to gain their trust.

Meet individually

Consider scheduling regular one-on-one meetings with each team member besides the regular team meetings. By doing so, you can track each member's progress and they may also be willing to share their ideas and receive feedback in a private setting. This also helps you to connect with your employees on a personal level, making them feel valued and appreciated.

Provide support

Employees can succeed in achieving their goals if you provide the support they need. Be approachable and willing to listen whenever they come to you. For example, they may require further training, resources and the addition of team members to accomplish a specific goal.

Highlight team accomplishments

Consider highlighting your team's accomplishments to encourage them to keep moving forward. You can offer rewards for those that achieve their set goals and encourage those who don't to keep working towards them. It's vital you learn how each employee wants to receive rewards or acknowledgement. Some may like a private message or financial reward. Others may prefer a promotion and public acknowledgements.

Obstacles to strategic alignment

Here are challenges that can prevent your team from adopting your strategy and some ways to address them:

Lack of information on the strategy

When employees have little or no information on the specifics of the strategy, it can be difficult for them to adopt it. Consider dedicating more time to educating your employees on the process rather than just communicating via email or a memo. Some employees may not understand it and those who do might forget about it if there aren't regular updates on the progress. You can make your employees more aware of the strategy by creating business cards with the strategic plan themes, posting them where everyone can access and having regular meetings to update them on the progress.

Related: How to communicate visually (with definition and examples)

Little connection to the strategy

If team members struggle to connect emotionally to the strategy, they may not feel motivated to adopt it. Consider highlighting the contributions of each department or team to the strategy and let them be accountable for it. Be sure to delegate tasks to each team member. This helps everyone feel involved, encouraging them to perform their functions effectively.

Unclear opportunity to provide feedback

Though strategic plans emerge from leadership teams, employees carry out the daily tasks. To gain perspective on the project's progress and challenges, consider giving everyone a chance to share their views and give feedback. Lack of feedback can delay the adoption of a strategy because employees have no one to ask for help and support. You can encourage feedback by asking employees to share their views and comments during meetings.

Lack of motivation

It's vital you communicate the strategy in a manner that motivates employees to adopt it. Consider explaining it simply, so everyone understands and wants to work towards it. Some employees require direct engagement to feel excited about the plan. For example, you can offer rewards and bonus pays for those that achieve their goals, drive ownership by assigning everyone responsibilities and set visible goals that employees can comprehend.

Related: How to use visualisation techniques to accomplish your goals

Failure to link current activities with a strategic plan

Strategies are ways to execute visions that look into the future. It's important you re-evaluate your short-term goals and current activities to see if they focus on achieving the strategic plan. Failure to link everyday activities to long-term goals or vision can weaken the strategic plan as employees may forget what they're working towards. Consider creating targets and KPIs to monitor the progress regularly. It's also vital you explain to the employees how their projects relate to the strategic plan.

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