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3 Steps to Communicate Strategy to Your Employees

There's little point spending time designing a corporate strategy if employees don't understand their role in implementing it

Although senior executive and corporate strategy teams may spend days and even weeks carefully honing their company’s strategy, it’s never been easy to get the message across to the whole workforce. Often a strategy is complex and based on nuanced and contentious decisions, reached after a lot of discussion. It’s hard to communicate this in a way that’s memorable and, crucially, gets employees making the right decisions.

However, despite this, it’s still surprising to find that nearly 70% of employees are unable to identify their company’s strategy from a set of different choices, as CEB data show. This makes the right strategy communication essential to a successful strategic plan. Communicators can build employee awareness of organizational strategy and spur them to action using three simple steps.

  1. Build your communication framework:

    • First, lay the groundwork for your strategy communication and understand the market context, business goals, and the critical elements of the strategy

    • Then create a simple narrative and graphical framework for your corporate strategy that outlines the key strategy components. Your framework must aim to take employees from a broader strategic context to specific actions and behaviors they can incorporate in their workflows.

      For example, if you’ve identified macroeconomic trends that are likely to affect the company’s future, prepare to articulate what aspects of the strategy are most important for the employee and what they can do, such as attending specific training, to ensure they understand those trends and how this should affect their day-to-day work.

    • Finally, represent the strategy graphically to easily reach your target audience.

  2. Create tools to help communicate strategy:

    • Once you have the strategy elements and framework, identify the best channels to use for your communication, such as town halls, one-to-one discussions, and social media platforms.

    • Build a communication outline to help leaders focus on the key points of the strategy and deliver consistent messages, while also ensuring alignment of the material with the chosen channels.

      For example, if you’re using a collateral to inform a large group, structure your material around big issues and important updates on company initiatives; for a smaller group, conduct a workshop to teach more specific, relevant concepts and understand employee needs.

  3. Help employees interact with the strategy:

    • The final step is to help employees understand strategic corporate issues through peer interaction, such as strategy graffiti walls and JAM sessions. These channels help employees express strategic ideas creatively and promote group internalization of differing strategy perspectives

    • Additionally, provide a platform for leaders and employees to share examples of strategy in action and congratulate peers for demonstrating decisions and behavior that help the company implement the strategy.

 

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