I’ve worked in the employee communications space for more than a decade—and in that time, I’ve seen many examples of how companies communicate strategy to employees.

Most (not all) fall into the same trap: assuming employees know the strategy like the back of their hand and not guiding them enough to fully understand it.

This is not the way to go about it. While most employees may know what the strategy is, not everyone knows how to support it or how their role at the company affects it.

There’s a simple way to avoid this common error—ask employees first how much they understand the strategy, then communicate about it. When asked, employees usually say they just want to know how to support the strategy and contribute to the success of the company.
The best way to assess employee knowledge is to conduct a focus group (or series of focus groups). Ask questions that directly address the strategy, such as:

  • What does the company strategy mean to you?
  • Which aspect is most meaningful to you?
  • How do you support the company strategy in your everyday work?

Once you have data on what employees know, the way you actually communicate the strategy matters. But it really depends on what you heard.

If employees… You should…
Completely understand the strategy and how to support it Recognize them and share what they are doing to launch the company forward
Have an idea but need more help Provide them with success stories from peers to show what they could be doing to help
Are confused about the strategy Create a communication plan to share much more information with them

Since the company strategy is always evolving, and employee turnaround is constantly occurring, your task of communicating strategy is never complete. Every so often, ask employees again and reevaluate the amount of communication they require to fully support your strategy.

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