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EMPLOYEE ALIGNMENT: CLOSING THE GAP WITH DISCOVERY

by | Mar 21, 2019

Tribe’s highest goal is to align the day-to-day actions of employees with leadership’s vision or goals through internal communications. But to do it successfully, we need to know some important things. Employee alignment requires us to understand what the vision, the business strategy or the change is that we’re aligning to.

There is generally a gap between leadership’s vision and the employees’ reality. So, we’re also going to need to understand what employees are thinking. Making an effort to understand what’s really going is a key to developing effective communications.

A Three Step Discovery Process

Tribe has developed a three-step discovery process that does a nice job of mapping out what needs to happen to close the gap and achieve employee alignment. It involves interviewing key stakeholders, conducting focus groups and fielding a survey.

Stakeholder interviews help us clearly define the issue

When clients call us, they will have a good idea of the problem they are hoping to solve. But additional stakeholder conversations help us see the issue from different perspectives. Therefore, we’ll talk to the leaders who have a stake in the outcome. The larger purpose is to understand how resolving this problem is going to improve the company’s business or help make something inside the company work more efficiently.

Focus groups help us understand the reality of the situation

Based on the stakeholder discussions, we’ll develop questions that help us understand the employee’s situation or point of view. The goal is to encourage employees to talk openly about the things that might hinder the company’s progress.

Figuring out the number of focus groups and choosing the people for the groups can be quite a puzzle. We’ll try to include as diverse of an audience as we can – roles, tenure, location, etc. The number of groups that we recommend is driven by a number of factors. These might include company size, the number of locations and how much of the company might be impacted by the issue.

There aren’t a lot of hard and fast rules that ensure productive focus groups. However, the one thing that always puts a damper on the party is including people who manage others in the group – or having someone from the leadership team “just listen in.”

By the end of the groups, we’ll have a good idea of how we might solve the issues. However, focus groups and stakeholder interviews involve a relatively small percentage of employees in a company. Therefore, we’ll most often want to quantify our ideas.

Quantifying ideas with an employee survey

Fielding an employee survey allows us to quickly test whether the points of view uncovered in focus groups are widespread. They’ll also help us understand if there is a need to customize messages for certain audiences. Survey fatigue is often a worry in the corporate world. So we’ll work hard to keep the surveys brief and to the point.

By the time we get through this process, we’re ready to develop communications that employees will perceive as engaging and helpful. Importantly, the learning from the discovery process will prepare the team to execute many other types of communications.

Got a communications issue that needs solving? Tribe can help.

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