Opinion piece from Leigh Tymms, Strategy and Planning Director at Clarity
There are various factors creating this disruption across industries, including changes in consumer attitudes, technology, and different competitive sets. An example could be the more recent shifts in perceptions regarding plastic waste and what this means for many organisation’s product and packaging supply chains, as well as how the business behaves and communicates.
Creating a new strategy – or evolving an existing one – is no mean feat and is
often just the start of a long and challenging journey. Unless businesses help their
teams to fully buy in, the approach will be doomed to failure. A piece of research
from Forbes noted that of the 65% of organisations who have an agreed upon
strategy, only 10% of organisations go on to successful execute that strategy. A
significant proportion of this ‘gap’ can be accounted for by a lack of employee
awareness and understanding.
We recently conducted research that revealed the extent to which corporate
strategy isn’t being communicated internally, with only 14% of respondents from
a representative sample of employees across the UK saying they had a good
understanding of the strategy of their employer. Evidently drastic improvements
need to be made. Jane Young, director of internal communications at Legal &
General puts it well, saying, “You’d never communicate with your customers as
you do internally. It’d kill the brand. [Businesses] need to fundamentally change
how we talk to employees.”
So, the question is, how do businesses improve their internal comms strategies, whilst taking employees on the journey? Getting everyone on board means communicating with them in the right way, at the right time and with the right message. This may seem straightforward, but in reality, complex organisations and limited resources mean it is often not happening.
The importance of investing in an internal comms function
Being a leader in innovation, product development or even creating a new business model, is only part of the equation. Developing a strong brand and sustainable business requires a more holistic approach – to differentiate, to be customer centric and to have mechanisms in place for continued change management. At present, the current pace of change in most markets means there is little room for resting on your laurels, even as a market leader. It requires the right mix of laser focus, proposition refinement, audience segmentation and channel management.
Why is brand agility the biggest definer of success?
One common problem with business strategies is they often don’t find their way
out of the boardroom door. Just over half of our respondents (52%) believed
responsibility for communicating their organisation’s strategy lay with the board,
leadership team or senior managers.
Even though strategy rightly starts in the boardroom, it’s the job of senior leaders
to work closely with internal communications experts to ensure the messages
that flow from that central approach cascade throughout the business. More
than 8% of the employees we surveyed claimed their organisation had no internal
communications function, which is worrying. It’s one thing to have a strategy but
it’s quite another to make it fly. To do this means investing both time and budget
into a carefully crafted internal communications drive.