By Emily Suess
You might be surprised to learn how many employees feel that important business plan and strategy information is not adequately communicated by owners and managers. While it’s important to have a plan in place, it is equally important to make sure that plan—and the steps for achieving it—are shared with the rest of your staff.
There are several different ways you can pass along business strategies to your staff, and the process (or processes) you choose will depend on several variables including: your preferred method for communicating, your employees’ preferred method for receiving information, the size of your business, and whether your employees work onsite, remotely, or a combination of the two.
Call a Meeting
In most circumstances, you’ll want to call a meeting or teleconference that includes all of your employees. In the meeting you’ll introduce everyone to the new plan or strategy and explain why it has been chosen.
Break it down into small chunks so that everyone can see how their department (even if it’s a department of one) is related to the small business’s greater goals. Rattling of orders without context can lead to confusion, or give employees the impression you don’t trust them with the big picture.
Repeat the Message in an Email
After the initial meeting, summarize the discussion in an email. You may wish to reiterate your remarks at the meeting as well as address any employee questions or concerns that arose as a part of the discussion. Keep the message simple, using headers to draw attention to key aspects of the strategy and using bulleted lists to simplify employee directives.
In one-on-one discussions (or departmental meetings, depending on the number of employees you have), identify the specific ways your business plan will impact staff and point out how their daily tasks will be essential for helping your business achieve its goals. Give employees a chance to identify their concerns and make suggestions as to how they might be able to make greater contributions.
Publish an Internal Blog or Newsletter
On a monthly or weekly basis, publish strategy reminders and highlight the successes of your employees and your small business as a whole.
Any time the business strategy changes, talk about it. In some businesses, the need to make changes is seen as proof of failure or proof of a breakdown somewhere within the system. In reality, these changes are usually evidence that your business is flexible enough to adapt to changes in the economy or fluctuating needs within the industry.
Don’t Forget New Hires
When new employees come on board, training sometimes focuses exclusively on how the new hire should carry out his or her day-to-day responsibilities. It’s important to use this time to explain how the employee’s job relates to the overall mission of the business, too. On any given day, the members of your staff should know not only what to do, but why they are doing it.
When it comes to communicating strategies to your employees, the worst thing you can do is assume that the information will trickle down. Keep the lines of information and feedback open.