‘No, I’m not aware of my employer’s business goals for the next 12 months’ – unfortunately this is a response we regularly receive when we’re conducting a staff survey on behalf of the owner/principal of a financial advice business. In fact, in the latest analysis of our US clients, 62% of staff expressed this view.
A similar situation prevails in Australian advice firms, where just one in two owners tell us that they have shared their high level business goals for the upcoming year with all staff.
Play this scenario further into today’s marketplace, where the race to find, retain and develop good people is well and truly being run, surely it’s not too big a stretch to envisage employees opting to work with an employer who has a clear set of objectives and readily shares progress with their staff, over another who doesn’t?
Why should I remain with my current employer (or join a new one) if I’m not sure of their goals and how they’re actually tracking towards them. How secure is my future?
Compounding this situation further is the evolution of the hybrid work environment in which people are perhaps only required to physically be in the office a few days per week. Jobs are no longer driven by the location of either staff or their employer. People can productively work from their home. The point being – staff are more isolated and therefore less likely to have be true sense for how secure their employer truly is if they’re seeing less of them. Remote shouldn’t mean less connected but we fear for many it does.
Pleasingly, in response to the above, we’ve noted an increasing number of owners choosing to share business goals with their staff. A trend we hope continues! As to how businesses are going about their sharing:
- Email: This presumes staff will read, understand and accept the message being conveyed but without the opportunity to seek further clarification and otherwise question we’re not too sure about the overall effectiveness of this method.
- Zoom/Teams: It’s convenient, less costly (dollars and time) and certainly easier logistically to organise and conduct. If this is your preference – ensure everyone is on the call and on video (no blank screens).
- Pre-recorded video, YouTube and others: While the information will be communicated, we fear the lack of personalisation and interaction will detract.
- In-person: It’s our experience that nothing can fully replace the benefits of in-person meetings. And while it takes considerably more effort to organise and is generally more costly, the benefits can be significant. Not simply in terms of the update itself, but also it allows the whole team to come together as a single community and, for newer staff who were hired remotely – it may be the first time they meet with other team members in-person.
- Some of our clients have sought to build out their in-person updates by incorporating additional training/education sessions for their staff as well as including perhaps a social event (dinner to acknowledge new comers, achievements and milestones for example). Others have leveraged their PD days and/or conferences by simply including their update in the agenda.
- A Q & A session is generally included, allowing staff to ask their questions and seek the feedback they’re looking for in a safe, collaborative environment.
- As to the frequency of their ‘state of the nation’ updates (irrespective of the method of delivery), some clients have moved to six monthly. We even have one client who has recently committed to four monthly – such is the importance they place on staff awareness and buy-in of the business’ goals and progress.
Whichever communication approach you adopt, there will no doubt be extra costs involved, but these will be far less than the cost of replacing staff who otherwise might decide to leave because they don’t feel part of the team or aren’t confident as to its future.
For your consideration.