How Companies Can Communicate Their Strategic Vision to Employees
Communication of strategic vision is effective when employees receive a message, understand its intent, and act on it.
But the real world presents challenges for employees like:
- Getting swamped with emails
- Dealing with personal problems
- Misunderstanding the intent of the message
- Encountering distractions
In short, a failure to communicate effectively comes at a cost and undermines your chances for success.
The Cost of Ineffective Strategic Vision Communication for Your Company
Poor communication of a strategic vision can cause setbacks such as:
- Employee disengagement
- Decreased productivity
- Legal issues
- Inefficient work
- Unsatisfied customers
- Lost business
A report The Grossman Group states that “employee misunderstanding costs a 100,000-employee company $62.4 million each year on average.”
According to the same report,”misaligned communication costs SMBs an average of $26,041 per knowledge worker per year.” The top contributing factors related to miscommunication that hurt SMBs financially are:
- Unwanted communication
- Inefficient coordination
- Waiting for information
- Customer complaints
- Barriers to collaboration
Here’s an example of a spelling mistake that shut down a family business and cost the UK Companies House €8.8m.
The miscommunication of a strategic vision can make it harder for teams to collaborate,fostering dissatisfaction among employees.
This means that for every $1,000 brought by a disengaged employee, an engaged employee brings in $1220. In other words, the company is missing out on $220 by not attempting to resolve the issues faced by the disengaged employee.
Also, about 14% of the workforce is actively disengaged at work (and in turn, they actively spread their unhappiness to colleagues), while 54% are not engaged and not working to their potentials.
Are poor communication and employee dissatisfaction related? Fierce, Inc. found that 86% of employees blame workplace failures on a lack of collaboration and ineffective communication.
Strengthening your communication strategy will not only help you communicate your strategic vision to your employees, but it will also improve employee output by increasing their morale and productivity.
How Teams Can Communicate their Strategic Plans and Company Vision Better
What’s the ulterior motive for effectively communicating strategic vision? Its aim is to allow employees to understand their role in helping the company achieve its strategic vision.
Let’s look at some of the methods executives can use to communicate more effectively throughout their company.
Make your Message and Vision Statement Clear and Relevant
Pay attention to the message first. A simple message is better at getting the point across and won’t compromise its authority.
After communicating the strategic vision to your employees, it’s your responsibility to make sure your employees receive tangible step-by-step instructions on how to convert the vision into reality.
Consider this strategic vision: “We want to make home care affordable and accessible across all the cities and towns in the next 5 years and provide job opportunities to thousands of people.”
To make employees feel connected to the strategic vision, they have to be assigned tasks such as:
- Conducting consumer research
- Preparing a budget to hire 100 employees
- Reviewing the resumes of 100 candidates
- Researching major competitors and tax policies
- Preparing conceptual ideas for billboard advertising
When employees understand the “why” behind the job (such as increasing production to meet demand), they won’t feel like they’re working in the dark or question the project at-hand.
To make the message clear, we suggest the following initiatives
- Use shorter messages with simple wording
- Avoid jargon
- Allow two-way communication
- Don’t bombard employees with messages; instead, create some breathing room
- Talk like a leader,and not a boss
- Make important information such as a brand guide, spreadsheets, and event calendars,, easily available
- Pay special attention to onboarding new employees
- Design employee engagement as part of your overall strategy
Don’t Rely on Written Internal Communication Alone
Lengthy text-based communication like repetitive documents and boring emails discourages employees from reading the whole message, and unfortunately, it’s eventually ignored.
To mix things up, we recommend that you invest in other kinds of media such as:
Explainer videos convert complex topics into short and fun-to-watch videos. You can use them to explain the benefits of your products and services to salespeople or their technicalities to engineers.
Explainer videos can be cheaply produced and used multiple times.
The most popular formats for explainer videos are:
- Cartoon-style videos
- Whiteboard animations
- Motion graphics
Culture videos are a great way to remind employees about the company culture of which they’re part.
Updates and announcement videos
A quick update from senior leadership and key stakeholders on major company news can be shared on the company’s YouTube account or by means of a video hosting provider to maintain privacy.
2. Social Media
Use social networking sites to share important news and updates about the company with the entire workforce. This will allow your customers and employees to see that you’re active and responsive.
It also gives your employees, as well as business leaders, a method for two-way internal communication and an opportunity for networking. This is beneficial if your organization is large, and the employees only have a few opportunities to meet people from other departments.
You can post videos, slideshows, quick updates, and infographics to keep your employees up to date.
Visual methods demand the viewer’s complete attention, while podcasts allow for multi-tasking. Podcasts are easy to make and distribute, and they serve as a key platform to share important company news, updates, plans, and highlights about an employee.
4. Employee interaction with leaders
Since employees look to leaders (like managers) for instruction and guidance, you can empower leaders in various positions to communicate effectively.
A study of 1,000 U.S. workers revealed that ineffective communication from leaders sabotages employee engagement. Fifty-seven percent of employees felt that they don’t receive clear directions from their leadership teams.
The solution? Encouraging managers to improve their soft skills. This can be done through:
- Implementing soft-skill training programs
- Ensuring managers are engaged
- Using communication apps and software, saving managers time
- Keeping managers in the loop
- Making sure to not overwhelming managers with unnecessary tasks to leave room for 1:1 manager-employee communication
The Impact of Collaboration Tools
It’s apparent that conventional communication channels like email, print, conference calls, company meetings, displays and banners, forums, and newsletters are not enough to communicate strategic vision effectively.
In this context, a decrease in productivity can be caused by:
- Scrolling endlessly through email chains
- Spending time looking for information in emails
- Forgetting to reply to emails
- Zoom fatigue
- Misunderstanding technical jargon
- Trying to keep up with different communication channels
A strategic planning and collaboration platform like Frictionless provides you with all the tools you need to build and communicate your strategic vision. With the right tools, your employees can access important information on the fly. Frictionless stores data including:
- Brand values and alignment
- Standards of excellence
- The organization’s purpose and strategic direction
- Common goals for the entire team
- Company mission statement and principles
- Company branding guide
- Important branding element information such as typeface, logos, imagery, and color scheme.
Strategic planning platforms promote regular communication and collaboration among teammates and maintain functionalities that allow your team to leave feedback and comments.
Frictionless is a platform specially designed to help companies communicate their strategic vision and collaborate with employees as their vision and mission evolve. Apart from storing important branding and strategic information about your organization , you can also create lists, whiteboards, flowcharts, and much more to facilitate initiatives like employee onboarding and sales and marketing campaigns.
Challenges to Understanding Your Strategic Vision and Direction
Lack of internal communication and action are detrimental to productivity, as well as communication overload.
The sharing of too much information through email, text, notifications, and meetings, confuse employees, and prioritizing such information becomes an arduous task.
Unnecessary data and poorly written communication will add to the burden.
To prevent overload, standardize or reduce the information channels. For example, digital communication becomes seamless with productivity tools such as Flowdock or Slack, which can aggregate notifications from other channels such as Twitter, GitHub, Zapier, Asana, Trello, and other platforms.
Poor Interdepartmental and Internal Communications Strategy
Do employees across departments at your company communicate as often as they should? Or do they deadlines and finger-point
Improving interdepartmental communication is another crucial step that a mission-driven company can institute to communicate its strategic vision effectively.
Customer service improves when the designated customer care representatives are in touch with the production department, as they can resolve customer complaints faster.
Similarly, your account strategists and product managers can prepare a more thorough budget for the next quarter if they have sales data from previous time periods.
To improve interdepartmental communication, the top priority should be to eliminate communication silos. This can be done by:
- Appointing people to bridge the communication gaps between departments
- Creating scenarios that allow various teams to interact with each other (such as retreats or social events)
- Creating interest-based clubs
- Building cross-department teams
Searching for Information
According to a McKinsey 2012 report, workers spend 19% of an average workweek searching and gathering information.
That’s almost a fifth of the total workweek. In other words, in a five-day workweek, workers spend four days completing other tasks and one full day looking for information.
In a cross-country survey of full-time employees, Nintex found that:
- 49% of respondents had trouble locating documents
- 41% of respondents had trouble pulling and finding sales data
Another brand consistency report by Demand Metric found that the brand guidelines of only 40% of companies were easily found by their employees.
Not being able to locate information related to the company’s strategic vision is a risk and leads to brand inconsistency. This issue can be easily resolved by signing up for a useful platform like Frictionless that makes branding information easily available to employees.
Use the Right Strategies for Strategic and Effective Communication
Communicating strategic vision is an organizational problem that needs intentional effort to resolve.
Fortunately, Frictionless will provide you with many tools to streamline the process of communicating your strategic vision and organizational values, increasing the likelihood of future success.