In our previous, two blogs, we looked at the what (to include in your business strategy), and the why (it’s so important to communicate it effectively). In this final issue, we want to look at the how.
Effectively communicating your business strategy to employees involves a combination of methods to ensure understanding, engagement, and alignment. Here are some Guru tips for best practice:
Know your Audience:
Depending on the size of your organisation and the scope of your staff, you may need to alter the level of detail shared with the various parties. Use a comms plan and consider how each part of your strategy could be received. Be aware that changes can sometimes be received negatively, and you may need to build in some reassurances.
Personalise the Message:
Wherever possible, connect the business strategy to individual roles and responsibilities. Help employees see how their contributions directly impact the overall goals. Use real-life examples and success stories to illustrate the positive outcomes of aligning with the strategy.
Employ Clarity and Simplicity:
As with all internal comms, use clear and straightforward language to convey your strategy. Don’t change your tone of voice for this vital messaging. Avoid jargon or technical terms that may be confusing to employees from different departments. Similarly, you should consider using visual aids, infographics, and videos to make complex information more accessible.
But Don’t Skimp on the Detail:
Explain the plan thoroughly and carefully. Include potential barriers and likely challenges. Offer some detail on how outcomes will be measured. Also, be sure to give due focus to what is different this time, and offer clarity around the potential impact of the changes.
Engage in Two-Way Communication:
Invite, encourage, and acknowledge feedback and questions. Create a culture where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and seeking clarification. This can be done with regular meetings, town halls, or Q&A sessions to address concerns and share updates. An interactive two-way platform like Vevox is your friend.
Use Multiple Communication Channels:
Utilise a variety of communication channels such as email, intranet, company newsletters, and your social media platforms to reach employees.
Repeat and Reinforce:
Repeat key messages consistently to reinforce the strategic goals. Incorporate the strategy into various ongoing forms of communication, such as team meetings, performance reviews, and training sessions.
Ensure that leadership is actively involved in communicating the strategy. Leaders should be visible advocates for the strategic objectives. Leadership should consistently model behaviours that reflect the values and priorities outlined in the strategy.
Training and Development:
If necessary, provide training sessions to educate employees on the key components of your business strategy, and offer resources and materials that employees can refer to for a deeper understanding of the strategic initiatives.
Ensure that information about the business strategy is cascaded down through all levels of the organisation. Managers and team leaders should be equipped to communicate the strategy to their teams and address any questions or concerns.
Celebrate Milestones and Achievements:
Looking forward, you should plan to recognise and celebrate successes related to the implementation of the business strategy. This positive reinforcement helps to create a sense of accomplishment and motivates employees to stay committed to the strategic goals.
Provide Regular Updates:
Don’t drop this and run. Invite questions and feedback. Further meetings, perhaps with a team leader or line manager, to discuss concerns or seek clarity, can work wonders in getting the strategy to sink in at all levels. Informing your people of the strategy is only the first step; keep them updated on progress, and keep them on board with what you are trying to achieve with ongoing meaningful and engaging comms. This keeps employees informed about the impact of their efforts and maintains transparency.
By employing a combination of these strategies, businesses can create a comprehensive communication plan that ensures their employees are well-informed, engaged, and aligned with the overall strategic direction.
"If you're competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering."
- Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon
It’s hard to pick out companies that are successful because of their business strategy comms, but there are some very successful companies that have received praise and recognition for the way they communicate their strategies to their people.
For example, Google is known for its transparent communication culture. The company shares its mission, vision, and values openly with employees. Regular town hall meetings, internal communication platforms, and a focus on inclusivity are said to contribute to their effective communication of strategy.
Similarly, Microsoft, under the leadership of Satya Nadella, has been praised for its clear and well-communicated strategy, focused on cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and a growth mindset. Nadella's books, such as "Hit Refresh," have also provided insights into the company's transformation strategy.
Amazon, one of the most successful companies in the world, communicates its customer-centric business strategy through various channels. Jeff Bezos, the founder and former CEO, was known for his annual shareholder letters, outlining the company's long-term vision. Amazon also utilises internal communications tools to ensure employees are aligned with the company's customer-focused goals.
So, to be a Google, an Amazon, an Apple, or a Microsoft (and not a Blockbuster, a Kodak, a Borders or a Toys-R-Us), focus on communicating your business strategy. Get everyone on side, with you, and working towards the common goals.
And if you have any concerns that your comms strategy might not be up to your business strategy, then holler in our direction. We’d love to help you get that sorted!