6 Steps in Aligning Employees to Business Strategy

developing leaders

When it comes to the people aspect of executing business strategies – mainly ensuring that employees and teams fully know what it is and understands it – it can be a challenge. Like the “telephone game” – where you whisper a message around in a circle, and it invariably changes at the end – senior leaders create strategies. As it goes through lower levels and throughout the organization, it can change, sometimes considered by people on the front lines. 

When asked many people on the front line what their strategy is, they are likely met with blank stares and confusion. Unfortunately, many will fail to answer a positive question: “how does your work contribute to the organization’s success?”. This is an example of how organizations fail to align their talent strategy with their business strategy. 

Alignment is Everything

Talent optimization includes aligning employees to business strategy, yet, many companies struggle to successfully align from the top to the organization’s front lines. Aligning employees to the business strategy at all levels of the organization ensures that they focus on what’s important and use their time and efforts accordingly. Otherwise, lacking efficiency, speed, and the ability to update with changing times can sabotage efforts. It also increases engagement, prompting employees to be more productive because they are more invested. 

Business Strategy and Company Culture Too

Alignment fails when an organization has a clear business strategy but lacks support with mismatching company culture.

Company cultures should be able to outline the execution of the developed strategy – defining the company’s principles and beliefs about how success is achieved. Unfortunately, call center environments are a great example of how the company culture fails to import business strategy.

Call centers generally here competing objectives: providing customer service & handling a high volume of calls. In this scenario, since call centers must complete objectives to hold a high volume of calls and hold general values of speed, efficiency-it clashes with the values of friendliness & service. Your culture should always support the company metrics- and only then will employees be able to align to the business strategy.

Alignment starts with Senior Leadership

Spending time at the front end to obtain a clear and aligned understanding is just as crucial. It’s a fallacy to believe that senior leaders automatically align to the organization’s strategy and grasp their responsibility along with their CEOs. Frankly, talent strategies must be aligned with business strategies and should be the foundation for executing strategy. Once management clearly understands and is aligned with the strategy – the ball starts rolling for the rest of the company through an encouraging culture.

Make Sure the Strategy is Communicated and known at all Levels

To successfully implement a business strategy, employees need to know and understand what the strategy is and needs to be brought down from the top by senior leaders. Senior management should take ownership of communicating the strategy, establish goals with a date, and create tangible metrics for the front line. 

Communication needs to be ongoing, consistent, or frequent to ensure new information like sharing the company’s business strategy is tangible. Employees should be able to not only know the business strategy but their role in executing the strategy and how successful the efforts are. No one can assume all employees and teams know the strategy and are on board. 

HR helps in this process during recruiting, hiring, and onboarding.

How can HR help?

Employee alignment and talent optimization begin with the hiring process, from recruitment to onboarding. It’s important that the right people fit the culture. 

Culture fit outweighs talent when it comes to business success. HR managers need to be able to discern top talent and whether or not they fit culturally. Once hired, HR can then communicate so that the employee thoroughly understands the strategy and how their role contributes to the execution of the business strategy. 

Use Metrics to Measure Success

Performance metrics lets you know if your organization has been successful at aligning employees to the company’s strategy. Metrics such as goals and objectives, highlights whether teams are aligned with departments, departments to divisional goals, and whether divisional goals are aligned with the organization’s goals. 

With over 100 years of combined experience, Newland Associates have helped many organizations with their business strategy. Reach out to find out how we can help solve your business strategy needs.