Employee Alignment with New Objectives in the Recovery

The recession forced many companies to assess the course of their company and adjust their strategic objectives for the new economic reality. But how many of your employees know what those new objectives are? Critically, if they do know the new objectives, do they understand how that change in direction may also affect what and how they should be doing in their everyday work?

As I’ve written before, recent studies show 32% doubt there is even a plan for their business. Only 27% feel they know how to face the challenges of 2010. The cover story of a recent issue of Human Resource Executive addressed this point as well:

“To make matters worse, employees at many organizations are ill-prepared to carry out the new business strategies CEOs and their executive committees are now working so hard to develop. Experts who have studied the situation say that, in recession-altered workplaces, employees are often adrift, without well-defined roles or managers who know exactly how those new strategies should be executed.”
One of the strongest, most positive, and most effective ways of communicating your objectives to all employees is through the work. Reinforce for employees in their daily tasks when they help achieve your strategic objectives while demonstrating your company values. The good news is HR professionals seem to be using this strategy. From People Management:

“Employers are reviewing their reward policies to make them more strategic and performance related in the wake of the recession, the CIPD’s annual Reward Management survey has found. Asked their priorities for the coming year, just over half (52 per cent) of the 800 reward professionals surveyed cited the need to align incentives with corporate strategy.”

The importance of recognition to employees was further highlighted by the Corporate Executive Board (also from the Human Resources Executive article)

“Research by the Corporate Executive Board found that some of the top drivers of employee commitment have shifted significantly. As the recession has limited opportunities for development, workers have come to consider other things more important, particularly individual recognition. According to the study, employee desire for recognition jumped 15 percent from October 2008 to March 2009.”

If employees desire recognition, which is also a powerful means to foster alignment with your strategic objectives, why wouldn’t you pursue strategic recognition to achieve your goals in the recovery?

4 comment(s):

At March 26, 2010 6:57 AM, working girl said...

Why indeed? Recognition and communication are key business strategies.

At March 26, 2010 9:57 AM, Derek Irvine said...

Agreed, working girl. Just as I do not understand companies who go into "shut down mode" regarding communications in tough situations, I do not understand those who shut of the primary means of showing and telling employees how much more you appreciate them for their hard work and dedication in the same tough situations.

Recognition and communications go hand in hand. In fact, recognition is a powerful means of communication as this post attempts to illustrate.

At March 26, 2010 11:16 PM, Anonymous said...

Tell them. No, really. Intelligent people, unlike donkeys, don't necessarily need a carrot. But we do need communication.

Our managers had been closeted up for months hammering out a new strategy. Rumors and early overviews came out and we asked, "Should we act now?" "Not yet. We're still working out details." Later: "Now?" "The management team will let you know when and how to begin."

Were we engaged? You bet. We had been batting around ideas based on the rumors we'd heard and getting ready to change our processes. But even engaged employees don't take initiative when specifically told to wait.

Managers live and breathe the brave new world in their closed-door meetings and forget how far their imaginations have come from the realities outside. When our senior leader finally poked his head out, he blew up over how little we had accomplished and over our failure to embrace the new strategy. He never noticed that he had forgotten to say, "The new strategy is official. Here is the latest word. You may now begin."

At March 27, 2010 7:43 AM, Derek Irvine said...

It's hard to be engaged when you don't know what you're supposed to be engaged with.

I wish Anonymous' experience was a rare one, but I believe many could repeat the same story in corporations around the world.

Managers and executives, are you listening? Your team is ready -- just TELL THEM!