As we launch 2010, I’m sure your strategic objectives for the year are top of mind for you, as they are for me. Let me ask you, have you clearly communicated those objectives to your employees? Are you sure? If pressed, could they tell you what those objectives are? I don’t mean can they repeat verbatim the top three to five objectives for the company. I mean, can they tell you how they, personally, in their individual jobs, will contribute to achieving those objectives?

If you cannot answer a strong “yes” to these questions, then you have an alignment problem. I would hazard that alignment is the most pressing challenge for business leadership today. A survey conducted by YouGov would agree:

"Employers are failing to communicate their business plans properly to their staff and are missing out on engagement as a result. … Only 24 per cent said that their employer had clearly articulated their 2010 objectives to the workforce, while a third (32 per cent) even doubted there was a plan for their business at all. Perhaps as a result of this, only 27 per cent of people said they were fully prepared for the challenges they would face at work in the year ahead.

"Said David MacLeod: ‘This is just one example of how poor employee engagement can put the brakes on improved business performance. If leaders don’t explain where the business is going and what it’s seeking to achieve, how can people be motivated or know what they’re meant to contribute? Clear goals are a key ingredient for achieving performance and productivity – but worryingly this research suggests many employers haven’t yet grasped this for 2010.’"

32% doubt there is even a plan for their business? 27% know how to face the challenges of 2010? At your next meeting, look around – immediately discount 75% of the people in the room. Look at the remaining 25% — that’s all you have to work with to achieve your objectives in 2010. Do you think you’ll make it?

One of the strongest, most positive, and most effective ways of communicating your objectives to all employees is through the work. What do I mean? Sure, you need to tell your employees what your objectives are, but to get real alignment, you must go a deeper. You must reinforce for employees in their daily tasks when they help achieve your strategic objectives while demonstrating your company values. Achieving this level of alignment must rely on senior leadership at the officer level. HR is a partner in delivering the plan, but the impetus for alignment must come from the top.

What are you doing to communicate your business strategies and create alignment at all levels in your organisation?

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