The success of any organisation is typically dependent on two key factors; alignment on your strategy and your employees’ commitment to and enthusiasm for the work that helps achieve it. Unfortunately, for most companies, the two are disconnected.
Despite having more ways to communicate and coordinate work than ever before, many organisations struggle to communicate how the work of individuals and teams ladders back up to overarching company goals, which in many ways, limits the organisation’s ability to succeed.
With lockdown measures forcing teams around the world to rapidly adopt distributed styles of remote working, the importance of strategic alignment and employee engagement has never been more important to the continued success of a company.
Our recent study of distributed workplace trends among over 6,000 knowledge workers revealed only 26 percent of employees have a very clear understanding of how their individual work relates to company goals and just 16 percent say their company is very effective at setting and communicating goals.
This misalignment is often a symptom of siloed goal-setting inconsistent methods of communicating goals and general disconnection and abstraction from everyday work. As a result, employees are left feeling confused about priorities and where to focus efforts, lack of motivation, and struggle to work effectively with their team.
So how do you bridge the divide between organisational strategy and employee engagement?
Clear communication is key to team alignment
Regardless of what industry you’re in or where in the world you’re located, providing clarity around company and team-specific goals can help individuals understand what work they should be doing and when. Without this, the team can become confused about their individual tasks, leading to a lack of alignment and motivation.
Regularly communicating these priorities – not just dumping them in a Powerpoint presentation or Excel spreadsheet – can also help individuals prioritize their intentions for each working day and empower them to better understand their role in furthering the organisation’s mission. Ensuring your team has the clarity they need to stay focused on the tasks that matter.
The same survey showed that an overwhelming 82% of employees using a collaboration software platform say their company is effective at setting and communicating company-wide goals. Moreover, 84% of these employees have a clear understanding of how their individual work relates to their company-wide goals.
Organisations around the world have realized the benefits of remote and distributed working practices, despite some hurdles along the way, with many adopting new tools, technologies and processes to remain connected and coordinate work. The next frontier will be evaluating what learnings they’ve already gained from this experience, how they can remain effective and ensure alignment as they move into the next phase of working.
Clearly defined, repeatable processes and habits key to setting goals, tracking progress and delivering results efficiently. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to select tools that enable you to set your objectives and track your team’s work in the same place, making it easy to track progress, and securely communicate, collaborate, and coordinate what matters most.
Engage teams with a sense of purpose
When people feel passion for their work and understand the purpose behind it, they work smarter and deliver more. In fact, research shows that when teams have clarity on how they contribute to company objectives, their engagement at work doubles.
Providing greater transparency into how individual work feeds into larger company missions, empowers team members to take accountability for the work they’re completing. With clear, company-wide goals, every team member on every team can see how work contributes to top-level goals, why certain work is being prioritized, and ultimately how that moves the company towards its vision.
Team leaders can also recognize the work of individual contributors more easily and help them meet goals more often by course-correcting work before it falls off track. This creates an empowering sense of purpose for teams, motivating them to do their best work so they can achieve more ambitious goals.
Real-time visibility can increase collaboration and ensure everyone remains on track
Bridging the gap between day-to-day tasks and organisational impact requires having the right processes in place. Work management tools have offerings such as goal-tracking systems that bridge the gap between company strategy and work execution.
Understanding whether your organisation is staying on course or needs to pivot requires having a holistic picture or single source of truth which allows you to set, track and manage company goals and OKRs directly to the supporting work. Goals aims to provide this level of clarity and transparency, by helping individuals and teams ensure they’re focused on delivering the company’s most important work, no matter where they’re located.
Whether your team is distributed, back in the office or split between the two, bridging this gap between organisational strategy and employee engagement, will ensure that nothing stands in the way of your success.
- Paige Costello, Product Management Leader, Asana.