It is that time of the year where you need to wrap up the final initiatives of the current year and set the objectives for the following year. Amidst the chaotic atmosphere of the holidays, the time-sensitive deadlines, the low employee engagement, and the fires you need to burn out, you still need to plan for a successful New Year. How do you do that?
Based on the previous year performance, your enterprise’s general key objective(s) may be to increase revenue, acquire new partnerships, improve the quality of products and services, and/or grow your employee workforce. These goals are easy to decipher and explain, but not so easy to execute. For example, how do you translate business growth into practical objectives for Human Resources, Information Technology, and Operations? How do you create a plan that meets your main objectives, and more importantly, how do you make these initiatives relevant for your employees? Ultimately, your employees are the ones who will execute these goals so you must make these objectives tangible.
1) Include your team in the brainstorming stages of your process
Invite your direct reports to the brainstorming table of your vision board. Let them contribute strategically to the overall task plan since they interact regularly with customers, and understand the internal work processes of your company. They can purposefully help streamline the selection of these new objectives by making them more relevant to their professional needs, belief system and ambition.
If the new objectives set by the executive team support the employees’ core value systems, improves the effectiveness of their role, and help them grow professionally, they will easily embrace the new vision. Not only will they embrace it, they will become ambassadors of these goals and objectives. They will actively communicate the New Year’s plan to the rest of the employees; creating an environment that fosters the growth and development of these objectives.
Furthermore, employees who are involved in the company’s important decision-making processes, develop a sense of ownership in the company. They see the direct correlation between their contributions and the company performance. They are more engaged, manage resources more effectively, and can identify new ways to increase productivity and growth. These employees are invested in the company and tend to remain long-term at the institution.
2) Select the best medium(s) to build an effective “vision board”
Once you have selected the main business goals for the New Year, draw up a vision board to illustrate your main objectives. The term “vision board” is used loosely here. We are merely implying that you should designate a platform where you can visually and creatively state the overall objectives of your firm. For example, you can solicit professional help to design an attractive pamphlet, sleek poster board, a professional banner, video and or interactive PowerPoint. Depending on the infrastructure or size of your establishment, you may want to use multiple mediums to share your vision. If you are unsure about what mediums to use, investigate the most effective platform(s) to communicate with your managers and frontline employees.
It is mportant that you present your goals and objectives visually. According to a survey conducted by TD Bank, which polled over 500 small business owners, 78 percent of business owners believed that using visuals gave all or most of their workforce an accurate sense of the business’s goals and where the owner wanted the business to be in the next five years. Furthermore, Dr. Barbara Nusbaum, the psychologist who collaborated with TD Bank said, “Images connect us more immediately and emotionally to our personal and financial goals, and to our setting and achieving them. Images help us in our thinking and moving toward these goals.”
Another research conducted by Levie, W. J. & Lentz, R. indicated that people following directions with illustrations do 323% better than those following text directions alone. Lastly, Wharton School of Business conducted another study, which showed that people only remember 10 percent of what they hear after three days, but if a relevant image is paired with that same information, retention goes up to 65%! Therefore, use visual communication to present your New Year’s goals and objectives.
3) Communicate your “vision board” through multiple channels
Once you have determined the medium, select the best channel(s) to communicate these objectives to the rest of the enterprise. We recommend using a multi-faceted approach so you can ensure your employees have received the message. For example, you may share it via email, a landing page on your employees’ internal website. You may post it in public areas throughout your establishment and or present it at the company’s next town hall. Whatever you do, find out what is the most appropriate channels of communication for your business. The communication voice, medium or channel will always vary per business, so this strategy should be tailored to meet your business needs.
If you have a large infrastructure, solicit every manager or department head to create a sub-“vision board” for their team (with the help of their direct reports of course). Their assignment should be to build a plan that supports the overall goals of the firm. By implementing this tactic, you will raise employee engagement at every level of the organization. If every person in your organization is engaged, your vision has greater chances of being realized.
4) Communicate your “vision board” regularly and purposefully
If you want your “vision board” to resonate in the employee’s mind throughout the year, share it regularly and purposefully. Throughout the year, find ways to highlight the goals and objectives of the vision. For example, create a tagline to capture the spirit of your vision. Repeat it during employee recognition events, town halls and or even highlight it in your monthly or quarterly newsletters. You may also post signage throughout your organization’s establishment(s) to reinforce your message.
Key benefits of this exercise
1) Improvement of internal processes:
When determining the best objectives for your business, start by auditing the current policies and procedures of your workplace to see if they support your business objectives. Cut out the ineffective or underperforming initiatives and re-allocate their resources to fruitful initiatives and or new opportunities. If you need professional expertise or information on why it is recommended to administer regular audits, visit XcelHR.com/HrAudit. For the next 25 days, XcelHR will be administering free HR audits to the first 100 companies who sign up by December 5.
2) Stronger Corporate Culture and Identity
By collaborating with your employees to execute your “vision board”, you create a healthy synergy in your team(s) and strengthen relationships. Soliciting their input to build the company’s goals and objectives, increases awareness of your new brand objectives. In addition, you are giving your employees the ability to create a vision that identifies with their needs and core values. As a result, you are able to create a stronger corporate culture.
3) Increased Employee Engagement
Employees, who are involved in the company’s important decision-making processes, develop a sense of ownership in the company. They are actively engaged in the business, work with a passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and are excited to see the business grow. They inherently promote the brand to new prospects, and provide excellent services to current clients. They boost employee morale by influencing peers with positive feedback and enthusiasm.
Building business objectives that are effective and relevant for your firm is not easy. However, if you enlist the support of your team, you can create an effective, realistic and long-term strategic plan. You can improve the tactics and internal processes of your business by giving them insight into the company’s key goals and objectives. You can boost employee morale by giving them the opportunity to shape the future of the company, and inadvertently, you can create a stronger company culture by matching these objectives to their core values and beliefs.