When employees aren’t clear about the strategic business goals of the organization they work for — or when they don’t even know what those goals are — a company’s path to business success can be seriously hampered. Unfortunately, according to a recent survey, too many employees are, in fact, downright clueless about their firm’s objectives.
The new survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources (an international provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis) and involved interviews and data collection conducted by an independent research firm. More than 2,100 chief financial officers (CFOs), representing a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., were asked this pivotal question: “In your opinion, how aware are your employees of the company’s strategic business goals?”
Over 1/3 of these executives (34%) stated their workers are not very or not at all cognizant of their firm’s business goals. The research also revealed that employees at small companies appear to be the least aware of the strategic vision of their organizations while their peers at larger businesses tended to be the most aware. Specifically, 35% of CFOs from companies with 20 to 49 employees said their teams are not aware of their firms’ objectives. However, only 9% of respondents at the largest organizations (those with 1,000 or more employees) believe their employees are unaware of their companies’ strategic strategies.
In all, the survey concluded, based on the statements from CFOs, that 41% of employees are “somewhat aware” of their employer’s business goals, compared to less than 1/4 (24%) who are described as “very aware.” 30% of their workers, CFOs reported, are “not very aware” and 4% of employees appear to be “not at all aware” of strategic objectives (1% of respondents answered “don’t know” when asked whether workers were aware of company goals).
Going Beyond Sharing a Company’s Vision
Why do these survey results matter? According to research, employees who know about their company’s goals are more motivated to help their organization achieve these objectives – so finding ways to convey strategic goals clearly can be key to business success.
“Employees who know about their company’s strategic goals are more motivated to help the business reach them,” Paul McDonald, Robert Half Management Resources senior executive director, said in a media statement. “Managers need to go beyond simply sharing the vision, however, and show workers how their contributions support the efforts to reach organizational objectives.”
“With fewer staff and a more nimble structure, small companies, especially, have an opportunity to broadly discuss strategic business intentions and rally their teams around those targets,” McDonald added. “Even organizations still refining their vision should communicate to staff their initial business goals and the company’s progress toward achieving them.”
In a previous study titled “How Smart Human Capital Management (HCM) Drives Financial Performance,” conducted by Workforce Intelligence Institute and SuccessFactors (a provider of cloud-based business execution software), researchers found technology can also help spur recognition of companies’ goals.
For example, the study noted that in 2006, Mojave, a small creative shop, began using automated goal management software to provide every employee with information on how their day-to-day efforts helped their company deliver on key business objectives. In less than a year, Mojave saw improved teamwork and a growth goal of increasing revenues by 15% was reached.
Bottom line conclusion from the “How Smart Human Capital Management (HCM) Drives Financial Performance” survey: once employees see how their work directly supports their employer’s objectives, workers are more likely to focus on finding ways to work smarter and more efficiently, thereby boosting employee productivity.