No matter their size, the most successful businesses have a well-defined vision. This is usually introduced by senior management, but should trickle down to people on all levels, ensuring that everyone is behind the company’s values and objectives. The better your employees understand the company’s vision and strategy, the higher their engagement and motivation, and the more likely they’ll be to stay on board and continue to contribute their skills and experience to your business.
Recently, we invited organisational development consultant, Will Woodward, to contribute to our Business Basics series. Will provided us with some excellent tips on how to run productive meetings like a pro, and also touched on how small businesses can engage their staff in their business strategy — providing six practical tips for business leaders looking to boost the engagement of their workforce.
Below, you can watch an interview with Will before reading his six tips to get employees invested in your business strategy.
Start by explaining your overarching business strategy, describing in understandable terms the things you hope to achieve in the future. By providing a compelling vision of the future, your staff will benefit from a greater understanding of how their role impacts the business in the long and short term. This is also a chance to explain the what and the why of any recent business decisions which have affected staff, and what the consequences of not following through on such decisions could mean for the business at large.
By taking the time to set out your business strategy to your staff, they’ll feel more included in the business, potentially helping to improve morale and increase retention rates
For your employees to attain a good grasp of the business strategy, it’s important to open a two-way conversation, in which people are given a platform to digest your vision in their own terms. Ask your team what they think the key takeaways from your presentation are, before reaffirming what you meant - helping drive the message home. This is a great opportunity to hear feedback from staff at every level of your organisation, so you can be sure that all your employees both understand and are actively engaged in your business strategy.
Now that you’ve covered exactly what your strategy is and your staff have been given the chance to reaffirm what they’ve learnt, it’s time to discuss how the broader business strategy will, directly and indirectly, affect each individual. Ask each member of staff to reflect on what they can do differently to help drive the business towards its objectives, specifically when it comes to their day-to-day tasks. Even the smallest changes can make a big difference to how quickly you’re able to meet your targets and ambitions.
Follow through on your presentation by having your team plan specific actions they can incorporate into their working day to help the business meet its long and short term targets. These actions should be simple and practical, with measurable outcomes that allow you to review how effective and beneficial they’ve been to the wider business strategy. The key here is to encourage staff to think more broadly about the business’ objectives, and not simply their own personal goals and deadlines, when carrying out everyday tasks at work.
Now your team is clear on the actions they’re going to take, ask them to present their plan to you and other members of the team. This is an opportunity to hear valuable input on how your staff believe the business strategy can be achieved and carried out, which may in-turn influence how you manage other areas of the business. It’s also a chance for them to commit to a new way of working, with the business’ success at the heart of their day-to-day work.
To make sure your staff stick to this commitment, reconvene with them on a regular basis to review progress and find out what’s working and what isn’t. These meetings are your chance to update staff on how this new approach is helping to move the business towards its objectives, which will boost morale and ensure everyone feels valued. It’s also the perfect time to tweak actions or come up with new ones which will help individuals get the results the business needs. And don’t forget to celebrate individual and group successes where appropriate, ensuring that all staff feel involved in the process and that their work is making a difference.
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