When employees express the need for more strategic planning and transparency in vision, leaders must take action. By addressing these concerns, organizations can create an environment where employees feel engaged, motivated, and aligned with the company’s goals. This article will explore ten steps leaders can take to meet these employee needs, supported by research studies and real-world company examples.
- Communicate openly: Effective communication addresses employee concerns and fosters engagement. Research conducted by Rogers and May (2003) in their study titled “Employee Satisfaction and perceived management credibility: Evidence from Mexico” emphasizes that open communication positively impacts employee engagement and job satisfaction. Leaders should actively listen to employees’ concerns, value their feedback, and create channels for open dialogue. For example, Google regularly holds town hall meetings where leaders openly address employee questions and concerns.
- Share the organizational vision: A clear and compelling vision is essential for aligning employees’ efforts. Research by Mullane (2002) in the study titled “A mission statement is a strategic tool: When used properly” highlights the importance of sharing the vision with employees. For instance, Tesla’s mission statement, “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” provides a clear direction for employees and inspires them to contribute to the company’s vision.
- Develop a strategic plan: Collaborate with key stakeholders to create a comprehensive plan outlining the organization’s objectives, strategies, and action steps. As outlined in its Form 10-K annual report (Netflix, Inc., 2021), Netflix’s strategic plan serves as a noteworthy example. Their focus on original content creation, global expansion, and technological innovation provides a roadmap for achieving their vision. A well-defined strategic plan guides employees in making informed decisions and prioritizing their efforts.
- Involve employees: Employee involvement in the strategic planning process fosters a sense of ownership and commitment. Edward Lawler’s (1995) study titled “Affective and continuance commitment to the organization: Evaluation of measures and analysis of concurrent and time-lagged relations” highlights that involving employees in decision-making leads to higher levels of commitment and performance. For example, at Patagonia, an outdoor clothing company, employees actively engage in strategic planning, contributing their ideas and expertise.
- Provide regular updates: Establish a communication framework to keep employees informed about the progress of the strategic plan. Regular updates through team meetings, company-wide emails, or other appropriate channels help employees stay connected to the organization’s vision. For instance, Atlassian, a software company, holds quarterly “ShipIt Days” where employees showcase their progress on strategic initiatives and share updates with the entire organization.
- Foster transparency: Creating a culture of openness and transparency is crucial for meeting employees’ need for visual clarity. Two-way communication channels should be established, allowing employees to ask questions, express concerns, and provide feedback. Transparent communication involves sharing relevant information about company performance, challenges, and decision-making processes. Salesforce, a cloud-based software company, practices transparency by regularly sharing financial updates, strategic goals, and the rationale behind critical decisions.
- Clarify individual roles: Leaders must communicate how respective roles align with the strategic plan to enhance employee engagement. By outlining responsibilities, objectives and demonstrating the impact of their work on the overall vision, leaders help employees see the value they bring to the organization. For example, at Amazon, leaders provide employees with “Leadership Principles” that clarify expectations and guide their role alignment with the company’s strategic goals.
- Provide professional development opportunities: Investing in employees’ growth and development is essential for building strategic thinking and planning skills. Research by Chiaburu and Tekleab (2017) in their study titled “Employee Development and Firm Performance: A Moderated Mediation Model of Self-Efficacy and Work Engagement” highlights the positive impact of professional development on employee engagement and overall firm performance. Offering training programs, workshops, or mentorship opportunities demonstrates a commitment to employees’ professional advancement. For instance, organizations can create internal training programs focusing on strategic planning and decision-making. These opportunities enable employees to enhance their skills and contribute effectively to the organization’s strategic goals.
- Evaluate and refine: Periodically assess the strategic plan’s effectiveness and transparency. Collect feedback from employees to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments. For example, Microsoft conducts regular employee surveys to gauge satisfaction with the strategic planning process and uses feedback to refine its approach.
- Lead by example: Leaders should demonstrate strategic thinking and transparency in their actions. By communicating their decision-making rationale, seeking input from their teams, and showing a commitment to the company’s vision, leaders inspire employees to adopt similar behaviors. The leadership approach at Apple, under Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, exemplifies strategic thinking and transparency, with a clear focus on innovation and market disruption.
Conclusion: By following these ten steps, leaders can address employee needs for strategic planning and transparency. By fostering open communication, sharing the organizational vision, involving employees in decision-making, providing regular updates, encouraging transparency, clarifying individual roles, offering professional development opportunities, evaluating and refining the strategic plan, and leading by example, organizations can create an environment where employees feel empowered, motivated, and aligned with the company’s vision and goals.
Reference: Chiaburu, D. S., & Tekleab, A. G. (2017). Employee Development and Firm Performance: A Moderated Mediation Model of Self-Efficacy and Work Engagement. Journal of Business and Psychology, 32(6), 677-689.