strategic-planningA robust strategic plan should have focus and clarity around company strategy, vision, mission, goals and tactics.

In order to elevate employee engagement and participation, a communication plan needs to provide a simple, straightforward description of the plan and overarching goals that every employee and team can align to.

Once your strategic plan is completed, the next step will be to effectively communicate it to employees.

1. Create a One-Sheet Summary

Boil down the essence of your strategic plan into one or two pages.

Ideas for what to include:

What is our Vision?
What is our Mission?
Environment: What does the market look like without us?
Direction: Where is the company going?
Scope: In which markets do we compete?
Customers: Who are our customers?
Differentiation: What is our unique selling proposition?
Advantages: How we will do it better than anyone else?
Resources: What tools do we have?
Success: How do we define success?
Goals: Define the specific, measureable goals that will define success for the 3 or 5 year strategic plan. If possible, categorize those goals under broad headers like: Employees, Customers, Community, Financial Performance.

2. Write a Good FAQ for Your Employees

Craft 5-10 answers to what you anticipate will be the most frequently asked questions around the strategic plan.

Some of those questions might be:

Who was involved in putting together the strategic plan?
How will the new plan impact my job, roles and responsibilities?
Will the new strategic plan impact my already established goals for this year?

3. Provide a Meeting-in-a-box For Leaders

Set expectations for your top leadership group to cascade the highlights of the strategic plan to their teams. Provide a 30-minute meeting-in-a-box complete with talking points and key message germane to the strategic plan.

4. Design a “Big Goal” Card

Create a laminated card that contains the overarching 3-5 year measurable goals that can be distributed to all employees.

5. Send a “Message from the CEO” to All Employees

Craft a letter from the CEO to all employees that announces the creation of the new strategic plan and what it means to the organization going forward. The One-Sheet summary can be included as an attachment.

Include context (company history, what brought us to this point, why this strategic plan at this time is so important, who was involved, describe the process briefly, etc.), provide a broader base around the history of the organization to create the context of how strategy plays a part in the growth of the company. You can provide the key elements of what has led to your growth and challenges in the past and how that has informed your future direction.

6. Begin With a Leadership Briefing

Gather your top leadership group (in person meeting or teleconference) – 30-60 minutes to get everyone on the same page

Points to Cover:

– Share the strategy and the communication plan
– Share the one-sheet summary – answer questions or provide additional color
– Set expectation for this leadership group to cascade the information to their teams
– Provide them with your 30-minute meeting-in-a-box complete with talking points and key message germane to the strategic plan
– Discuss expectations around how your leaders will work with employees to align goals to the new plan and work to create a direct line of sight between what they do every day and the company’s big overarching goals.

7. Have an All-Company Meeting or Smaller Team Meetings

This could be an in-person meeting, teleconference, or web conference – whatever works best to include everyone, or as many relevant employees as possible. If team meetings are more viable than an all-company meeting, then by leveraging the meeting-in-a-box, have leaders debrief with their teams and begin the process of aligning team goals to company goals. Clarify what will be the same and what will change, share what the challenges and risks will be, and establish “What We Don’t Do”, which can be helpful to clarify new direction and perhaps what areas of the business you are eliminating, etc. Additionally, you can create message forums on the intranet, where employees get answers to their questions that may arise after the initial meeting.

8. Commit to quarterly progress updates

Create a barometer of sorts that can be posted on the intranet that will share progress.

Utilizing these steps will help facilitate an effective communication of your strategic plan with your employees, and also help to ensure that the plan rolls out as successfully as possible.