How confident are you that your team is bought into your company's overall vision and goals? I recently read a study by Slack that provides their findings from a survey of 17,000 knowledge workers. The purpose of the survey was to understand when knowledge workers feel aligned with their company, when they don’t, and the reasons for each scenario. A knowledge worker is someone whose job involves handling or using information, including programmers, architects, engineers, accountants, lawyers, and editors, just to name a few.
Slack did a fantastic job compiling the results of the study in such a way that readers can easily follow along and fully understand the importance of alignment in the workplace.
Aligned vs. Unaligned Workers
There are two significant takeaways from the results of the survey:
- Workers crave connection to the overall vision and goals of their organization.
- Workers struggle in the workplace when disconnected from the overall goals and vision.
Aligned workers: These workers understand the organization's overall strategy and how their individual goals connect. They know what they need to do in their roles to be successful and drive the organization's long-term success. A key difference here is that aligned workers are optimistic about their organization's future and believe that every department is working towards the overall vision and goals. They feel empowered to make business decisions that move the team and organization forward.
Unaligned workers: Unaligned workers are just the opposite. They do not feel empowered to make business decisions and are 12 times more likely to rate morale and employee satisfaction as very poor in the organization. A key difference is that they don’t see the impact their work has on the company and, as a result, feel pessimistic about the organization's future.
How To Align Your Workers
Successful alignment has three key parts:
- Consistent communication
- A clearly defined vision with tangible and achievable goals
- Empowering and supportive culture toward the vision and goals
The survey results showed that workers need clear direction to be aligned, and there is a direct correlation between monthly communication of the organization's vision and goals and worker alignment. This can be a daunting process, especially in larger organizations.
However, do not feel overwhelmed with the need to have everyone in the organization aligned all at once. Start on the ground level – focus on the individual. Alignment has to happen with each individual worker first. Once each individual worker has a sense of clarity and connection between their day-to-day work and the organization's overall goals, it will be easier to maintain alignment with regular monthly communication that reinforces vision and goals.
Also, it’s essential to communicate your organization's strategy in a clear, direct manner because aligned workers, especially knowledge workers, can easily suffer from information overload. As the most engaged, high-performing member of your workforce, aligned workers will typically read the equivalent of 174 newspapers every day while taking an average of 10+ meetings per day. As a result, they are at the most risk of suffering from information overload. Your organization can minimize overload by limiting the number of goals to 3-5 at a time.
Recap & What’s Next
The culture of the business world is changing, and for the better. Workers want their organizations to be more transparent by communicating concisely and clearly. They want to be a part of the progress and feel like they are making an impact on the larger goals.
If you are wondering how to go about doing a pulse check with your team, Slack offers a great first step – create and distribute a survey. Create a survey via Google Forms or SurveyMonkey to assess alignment with company goals. Make the survey required and include a deadline for completion. Start with the HR team to understand who feels aligned and who doesn’t, and what can be done to improve alignment and engagement. After the results are compiled for the HR team, send the survey to the broader organization.
Don’t end with another “survey.” Take action on what you learn. Workers who feel aligned will be more inclined to speak highly of the organization (publicly and privately), work harder and push towards long-term company goals.
Next week, we will hear from an HR professional about the state of all things Human Resources as it relates to SMBs today.
Before next week's post, we want to hear from you. What are your best practices for sharing company vision/goals to increase alignment and engagement?
Please sign in to leave a comment.