Whether you own a business or manage one, the organization’s strategy, plans and goals are probably always on your mind. It is more important than ever for a company to have a clear vision of where it wants to go and the steps to get there.

So can you explain your company’s current strategy in 20 words or less? Would members of your team be able to do it?

You can probably state your company’s long-term plan and targets. How about your employees? Are they aware of where they fit into the overall strategy? Are they committed to the company and driven by a passion for it?

Staying competitive in today’s business environment requires employees to be connected to a company’s strategy. Employees who understand the strategy can make informed decisions and perform better. Employees must understand how their daily work contributes to the organization’s larger goals.

Effective communication of your business strategy is the key. Articulating the company’s strategy clearly, concisely, and in a language, everyone can understand, can create a vital link between employees and leadership.

Here are some practical ways to link strategy to employee engagement:
• Align Employee Goals with Overall Strategy – For your business to be successful, align your employees’ goals with your business strategy. Setting clear, measurable goals helps employees understand how their work directly contributes to the company’s success. If your goal is to increase market share this year, make sure individual and team goals are aligned. It’s okay if individuals have different goals, but they must relate to the overall business goal. While the sales team strives to increase customer outreach, the production team focuses on delivering quality products faster, and the shipping team can improve logistics. Having aligned individual goals and overall strategy makes each individual and group move in a cohesive, coordinated manner, resulting in greater success.

• Match Employee Training with Strategy – Training and development opportunities should match the business’s strategy and enhance employee skills and knowledge. For example, your business may introduce new machinery to improve production efficiency. Employees can receive instruction in using the equipment, troubleshooting it, and enhancing its function during sessions focused on improving skills and roles. If you are open about the strategy for new tools and how they will enhance the business, employees are more likely to welcome training to become more productive. Furthermore, you will benefit from a more engaged and less threatened team.

• Establish a Company Culture that Reinforces Your Strategy – Recognizing and rewarding employees who embody the company’s values and contribute to its success is essential. For example, you can reinforce a focus on providing exceptional customer service to differentiate your business from competitors by creating an employee recognition program. Formalizing a program allows you to recognize and celebrate employees who receive positive customer feedback or compliments.

• Connect Employees with Customers – Employees need to understand the business’ target customers and how its products or services meet their needs. New opportunities may emerge by gaining a better understanding of the client’s challenges. Consider several ways to connect employees with customers, including training employees to provide excellent customer service, hosting customer appreciation or open house events, or gathering customer feedback on ways the company and team can improve.

Having everyone from the ground floor to the corporate office understand the business strategy and their link to it is essential for success in today’s business environment. Successfully connecting strategy to employees will improve performance, increase employee engagement, attract and retain great employees, and enhance long-term success.