How to check if the strategy is understood?

This picture illustrates the traditional approach of employee satisfaction survey question about understanding the strategy.

Employee engagement

In many organizations, regular employee engagement or satisfaction surveys are conducted to assess, among other things, the staff’s knowledge and understanding of the strategy. A common problem in most surveys is the leading nature of the questions. For example, employees are asked, ‘Do you understand the company’s strategy and its priorities?’ with responses on a scale of yes, partially, or not. It is easy to agree that most people believe they understand the strategy. Typically, such an approach gives encouraging results, suggesting that the hard work put into communicating the strategy has been successful.

To engage your employees, the strategy need to be clear and understood.

Does the employee engagement matter?

According to many studies, organizations with engaged employees make 4 times more profit than their peers. On the other hand, studies reveal that typically only 20–40 % of employees are engaged.

The number one reason for decreasing employee engagement is a lack of understanding of how an employee can contribute to an organization’s strategy. Typically, for organizations that are strong in strategy execution, over 70% of employees know their responsibilities clearly.

Is this a common problem?

According to a study published in HBR 2015, 84% of employees would agree with the statement, “I am clear on our organization’s top priorities.” However, if employees are asked to list top priorities, the results are less encouraging:

  • Management team members can typically name 4 out of 5 strategic priorities. 
  • Only one-third of team leaders can name 2 out of 5, and the rest even less. 
The graph shows how the knowledge of strategic priorities plummets with organizational position.

Besides being able to list strategic priorities or objectives, being able to understand and explain how the priorities and the strategic initiatives are linked is vital. At the same time, only 50% of management team members and less than 16% of team leaders can explain how the priorities and initiatives link.

The summary

Employee engagement is not only important for your short-term profits, but it is also a key to retaining your people and attracting new talents.

So, next time when conducting your employee engagement or satisfaction survey, instead of a leading question, give multiple choices of your 5 strategic objectives blended with another 5 fake objectives. Multiple options make it easy to see which priorities are understood and which are not.

Amplon is increasing your employee engagement and profits

Amplon uses the Hoshin Kanri (or policy deployment) principles to engage all employees and visualize the strategy. The X matrix is a one-pager for your strategy.

With a visual and clickable X matrix, it is easy to show the company’s and each department’s objectives. Furthermore, the list of key initiatives makes the focus clear and links them with the objectives.

In the Amplon software, you will benefit from transparency, an important aspect of communicating and getting people to understand your strategy.

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Top results are only achieved with a well-implemented strategy.

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Top results are only achieved with a well-implemented strategy. Many organizations can do reasonably well by continuing with their so-called old model, but this rarely retains a competitive advantage.

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