Have you ever spent days, weeks or even months creating a strategic plan, only to have your ideas shelved, never to be seen again? That is of course until next year, when you’ll blow the dust off the plan, update the numbers and then place it neatly back in it’s permanent spot for yet another year.
The purpose of a plan is to communicate the organization’s goals and the actions needed to achieve those goals. Yet, many companies have strategic plans that are useless, uninspiring, and unknown to the employees. For an example, here’s a statement taken from a national retailer’s Strategic Plan:
“Our mission is to operate the best specialty retail business in America, regardless of the product we sell. Because the product we sell is books, our aspirations must be consistent with the promise and the ideals of the volumes which line our shelves. To say that our mission exists independent of the product we sell is to demean the importance and the distinction of being booksellers . . .”
From there, another 100 words of blah, blah, blah. Good grief! What?! Please tell me what employee is going to remember, let alone execute, on that statement.
- 70 percent of all U.S. workers are not engaged in their job, which cost the U.S. up to $550 billion per year.
- Only 41 percent of employees know what their company stands for and what differentiates their brand.
- If you ask leaders whether or not their company is aligned, 64 percent will say yes, while only 2 percent of their employees would agree.
Creating a Strategic Plan that engages employees and aligns the organization must be a priority. Here’s what employees are asking:
- Why do we as a company exist?
- What specifically do we do?
- Why do we do it?
- How does what I do impact the world around me?
Leaders, can you answer their questions? Can you answer each question in two sentences or less? Here are three tips to consider when creating a strategic plan that engages your employees:
Start with The End In Mind
Succinctly answer the questions above. Set measureable goals that will allow you to fulfill your mission. Be sure the goals are broken down on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis and that the appropriate department owns their goal. Every week, ask your management team how they’re tracking, if they’re having any roadblocks in achieving their goal on time and is there anything they need from you. Every week inspect what you expect.
Get Your Employees Involved
Every departmental goal should have employee input on ways to achieve the goal. After all, they’re usually closest to the situation. Communicate to your employees every month where the company stands on achieving the goals. Celebrate the wins. Make the vision, mission and goals visible to all employees on a consistent basis. Get input from your employees on ways to bring the plan to life throughout organization. They can put up posters, include in company newsletters, etc. Have fun with this!
Lastly, be sure to include pictures on your strategic plan. Statistics say that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. The purpose of the plan should be to create a focal point in which everyone can rally behind to move the business forward.
Companies that strategically create engaged employees experience 22 percent higher profitability, 12 percent greater customer loyalty and have 37 percent less absenteeism. Now that’s a rocking strategic plan!
If you’d like to learn more about creating a useful strategic plan that engages employees, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org