Creating Organizational Clarity for Workforce Alignment
One of the top barriers to achieving workforce alignment stems from a failure by companies to prioritize and communicate their strategies internally across the entire workforce, according to a recent study of 1,500 employees in five countries by The Institute for Public Relations (IPR). The IPR study, “Organizational Clarity: The Case for Workforce Alignment and Belief
,” defines organizational clarity as the level of comprehension an individual has about his or her organization, including its vision, purpose, mission, strategy, opportunities, challenges, priorities and competitive reality. An organization’s performance is closely tied to its organizational clarity, which can also serve as a leading indicator of future performance. Organizational clarity increases when employees understand the marketplace through the lens of their company strategy. Conversely, organizational clarity decreases when employees understand the marketplace with little or no connection to their company’s strategy. Unfortunately, too many organizations lack a clear understanding of their own workforce, which creates a significant barrier to organizational clarity. The study’s authors attribute this failure to a lack of alignment between the C-level leadership, the HR team, and the communications functions across an organization. The IPR study defines the three key dimensions of organizational clarity as the Job; the Strategy; and the Market. Each of these dimensions affects how employees shape their job role within their company’s strategy, and their company’s strategy within the larger marketplace. The Job dimension involves how well an employee understands his or her organization’s strategy, and how that strategy applies to their job role. In other words, employees should have a clear grasp of their company’s mission and how their daily efforts help contribute to the organization’s success. The Strategy dimension involves the employee’s understanding of the company’s internal strategy and how it lines up with their understanding of the competition in the external market. Ideally, the employee will feel confident in the organization’s strategy and its ability to execute on that strategy. The Market dimension involves employees who only envision their future employment prospects outside of their organizations. This means the employee feels more connected to their profession as a path to their next job, rather than feeling a strong connection within their company. In this scenario, the employee usually believes the company more often reacts to the market, rather than influencing it. Here are some pointers to help create organizational clarity to improve workforce alignment:
- Organizational clarity depends on one thing – making employees feel relevant to the company strategy. Create continual conversations with employees and make sure employees hear and understand you.
- Strategic alignment and clarity start at the top, so any disagreements among the leadership must be addressed first.
- Keep people in the loop by infusing the organization with information and stories about the competition, customer preferences, industry trends, and best and worst examples of your products and services. Make it visual, interesting, and inclusive, and weave in the company’s point-of-view.
- Solicit feedback and encourage discussion among employees to discern their beliefs and concerns.
It is critical for leaders to balance all three elements of organizational clarity to achieve future success, because a poor outcome in one dimension is apt to disrupt the organization’s overall effectiveness.