You’ve got the playbook. You’ve established the strategy. Your organization is working on a significant change initiative. But how important a role does strategic alignment play in engagement?
Strategic alignment is the extent to which employees understand what the organization is trying to accomplish and how the work they do fits into and/or contributes to that.
Basically, strategic alignment is the crux of improving employee engagement. And, in turn, will decrease turnover and work toward a better final product. The Boston Consulting Group did a study in which they found that strong strategic alignment can increase ROI as much as 12.5%.
That’s a pretty big deal.
On paper, it may be a simple flow chart. In action, alignment entails trust, communication, accountability (on all levels), and continuous feedback. Moreover, organizations with clearly defined strategic alignment transmit those end goals to their customers.
Think of what, as a consumer, you feel about Coca Cola, Doritos, Southwest Airlines, Google – some of the most successful organizations, in terms of employee engagement, today. Image, brand promise, emotional connections – all of these drive brand loyalty. This loyalty comes from clearly defined and executed strategies within the organization.
For an organization to execute its strategy, it must:
- Coordinate alignment: At its most basic level, a change initiative must be developed with leaders and senior management within the organization. Then this strategy must be communicated to employees so that everyone knows his role in the process and how his work will be essential to meeting those goals set by the organization.
- Develop the mindset (get your senior leaders on board!): Emotional commitment to an organization’s strategy is critical and a real driver of success. This can’t be emphasized enough. If senior leaders are just going through the motions because the initiative looked good on paper without embracing the change, then change will fall flat.
- Develop capability: Change initiatives in an organization oftentimes tap into new skills that the current workforce doesn’t possess. It’s unfair to expect them to learn, implement, and execute the strategies if your employees are not given the right training to move forward. Take the time to develop capabilities to accelerate the changes.
Continuous evaluation of leaders and employees to keep them on track with the organization strategy is essential: Are the employees working toward the organizational goals? Do the employees understand the goals and their role in helping to achieve them? Is everyone held accountable for her work?
Nothing is carved in stone – thankfully! Your organization is an organism that will change and grow. With the right structure, mindset, and capabilities, tapping into the talents of your employees and creating an environment that is based on accountability, respect and trust, your employee engagement will strengthen and be reflected in the final product.