Slack finds that employee engagement with business strategy is key to employee alignment

14 January, 2020
Employee engagement

Communicate a strategy that all can understand to drive employee engagement

Slack, the collaboration software company, published its 2019 State of Work Report. During the first quarter of 2019, it surveyed the attitudes and experiences of 17,000 knowledge workers from frontline employees to CEOs. Among its major findings were that employee alignment explodes when people understand the big picture, and that employees struggle when they don’t have insight into the organisational vision.


Engagement with strategy and vision creates alignment

Slack develops and provides technological tools that enhance collaboration and communication, but its study found that these alone were not enough to engender employee alignment. It found that people ‘crave connection to their organisation’s strategic vision’.

People want to know and understand their employer’s big picture. The State of Work Study found that there is a direct correlation between communication of an organisation’s strategy and how employees feel about their employer. This correlation was exhibited across a range of factors, including how people rated:

  • Career progression
  • Collaboration
  • Effective use of technology
  • Morale
  • Training
  • Work/life balance
  • Culture
  • Communication

Engaged employees are more likely to be those who understand their organisation’s strategy and know how their work relates to the big picture. This engagement powers alignment. Slack found that:

  • 86% of aligned employees understand their organisation’s strategy
  • 90% of aligned employees understand how to be successful within the organisation

The study also found that 75% of aligned employees feel empowered to make strategic business decisions, while less than a quarter of unaligned employees feel the same way.


What are ‘unaligned employees’?

Unaligned employees are disconnected from their employer’s vision. They have little or no knowledge of the organisation’s business strategy and are more likely to be pessimistic about its future. They will focus less on problem solving and innovation in the workplace, and are less likely to collaborate with others. Their morale and productivity are likely to be low.

Compare this with aligned workers, who are almost twice as likely to believe that teams are working toward a shared vision and the organisation’s goals. It’s the difference between engaged and disengaged employees.


How can you achieve employee alignment?

Slack found that there are several common factors that aid successful employee alignment. These include:

  • A supportive culture that empowers employees
  • A clearly defined business mission and vision
  • Consistent communication

Employees must understand business strategy. Understanding and connection happen at the individual level. Organisations must find ways to connect and communicate with individuals, in ways that help foster understanding of the business strategy. It must be kept simple and provide employees a sense of connection between the organisation’s vision and values, and individual values and daily work.

Accomplishing this will enable employees to be authentic and true to their own values. This is when employee engagement can thrive, and lead to greater innovation and productivity. Aligned workers concentrate on delivering work that helps their organisation achieve its strategic goals, with the knowledge that doing so also leads to personal development. Aligned employees pull in the same direction as the organisation.

Slack’s study found that employees want more clarity around business strategy, goals, and individual responsibilities – key ingredients for employee engagement. To discover how the Learning Map from The Big Picture People can help you achieve this, get in touch with The Big Picture People today.

(See how putting people in the picture creates a shared vision, and helps set a concrete destination, read this case study.)

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