Communicating business strategy to employees is important for several reasons. When employees know and understand the business strategies, it can build trust in leadership, because it helps employee see that there is a plan in place to guide the company’s growth. It helps employees see how their job roles support the overall business objectives, which can improve their engagement and make their work more meaningful. And it helps employees accept major change more easily, whether that change is closing a plant, acquiring another company or pursuing a new market, because they can tie the change back to the strategic goals of the business.
But you can’t expect employees to wade through that 36-page Powerpoint the management team has put together. So how do you take the complexities of high-level business strategy and communicate it in simple terms regular humans can get their heads around?
1. Translate the jargon
If the executive leadership team talks about the business strategies in terms of leveraging this and optimizing that, help employees out by describing what that means in more down-to-earth terms.
2. Go macro before you go micro
Frame the strategies in broad strokes before getting down into the granular details. If there are three major thrusts of the strategy, communicate those early and often. In some channels, or for some audiences you might want to give more detail but establishing the framework first will help employees see how the details fit into the big picture.
3. Use infographics
Some people can grasp concepts more easily when they have a visual reference. Even those who are more verbal can appreciate being able to visualize how the strategies fit together to lead the company forward. (For more using infographics for internal communications, see this blog.)
4. Focus on how employees support those strategies
The business strategies will be much more relevant to employees when you can make a meaningful link between their jobs and the company strategies. Which of the strategies is related to the work being done in operations? In marketing? In customer service?
5. Let employees give real examples
Having the CEO communicate the business strategy to employees in town halls, blogs or other channels is an obvious step. For thoughts on helping them do that in more human ways, try this blog on humanizing leadership communications. But you can also have employees explain the strategies from their own perspectives. Interview some of the people doing the real work of executing those strategies for articles on the intranet or in the employee magazine or newsletter. For instance, if a stronger supply chain is part of the business strategy, let the team working on improving the supply chain explain what they’re doing. Allowing employees to describe concrete examples of work that supports the business strategies is one of the best possible ways to bring the strategies to life for the rest of the workforce.
Want to do a better job of communicating business strategies to your employees? Tribe can help.