In 2018, MIT Sloan Management Review published a startling finding: after interviewing c-suite executives and middle managers in a corporation, they discovered the majority of managers had lacked understanding of the corporation’s vital strategic points. While 97% of executives and top leaders clearly understood the company’s goals and how their work contributed to their achievement, only about one-quarter of the managers in their survey could name three of the company’s five strategic priorities. The results clearly indicated that employees at the company had a limited awareness of the company goals and their role in the strategic plan.
Unfortunately, this company’s poor strategic alignment is not unique. Many companies and corporations develop strategic plans for growth, expansion, and increasing sales. However, like our New Year’s Resolutions that often fall by the wayside, corporations ultimately fall short if the other essential components within the corporation are not aligned with this mission to support the achievement of these goals. Without the necessary intellectual skills, physical resources, or management systems in place, they cannot hope to achieve their vision.
Additionally, employees and managers whose outlook are misaligned with the company’s goals, may waste time and effort pursuing projects or ideals that do not contribute to the predetermined goals. Successfully, achieving the company strategy requires the combined efforts of all employees towards the top priorities laid out in the company’s strategic plan. Wise leaders will begin these alignment efforts with the recruitment of employees, hiring those that bring necessary skills and abilities to the table to perform specific tasks and support their view for the future.
The process of identifying the type of applicants and skills required to achieve your company’s strategy is a multi-step process.
1. Evaluate the Market
Every type of business is unique. What does it take to build a successful business in your market? Examine what your customers want and what your competition is offering. As a business owner, you cannot expect to win customers with the same product at the same price. Determine what it is going to take to set you apart from the others. Will it be innovating a new product or reimagining the way you serve customers? This deep dive into market conditions and your place in it will help you define your goals and your strategy for the future as well as the types of employees you need to reach them.
2. Define a Strategy
With your destination in sight, determine what strategy your company needs to adopt. Set both short and long-term goals that reflect your top priorities. A complex plan is likely to feel overwhelming and nebulous. Keep the strategy and the goals simple. A one-page strategic plan enumerating a handful of measurable goals will suffice. Quantifiable progress helps to keep goals in sight and focus on the finish line.
3. Assess Your Toolset
Does your company have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to accomplish what you have set forth to do? Just as a plumber cannot expect to fix a leaky pipe without his tools, you cannot expect to launch a new website without a web designer or launch a new technology without an engineer. Honestly evaluate the company’s strengths and weaknesses to determine which tools you may need to acquire through recruitment efforts to fill out your skillset. Be sure to plan for immediate and long-term needs. While many goals will be long lasting, others will change as your company grows or the market changes.
4. Plan and Recruit
The talent and skills held by your employees are some of the most significant resources that you have. Identifying talented individuals to fill the skill gaps you identified requires aligning your recruitment efforts with your strategy. Each open position should be well-defined in terms of the skills necessary and its contributions to the bigger picture. New hires should have specific tasks to perform and obstacles to overcome that are unique to their position. Defining these positions before you begin the hiring process assists employment recruiters to know precisely what they are looking for in the applicant pool.
Hiring employees to meet a specific need in your company brings with it numerous benefits.
- Easier Onboarding – Training an employee to be a jack-of-all-trades is demanding and chaotic. Employees placed in well-defined, goal-oriented positions are easy to onboard as it is clear from day one exactly what they will be doing, who they will be working with, and what they should hope to accomplish.
- Better Engagement – Employees who can see their regular contributions to company success are more vested in their work. They produce high-quality products and take ownership of their tasks. Engaged employees are more likely to enjoy job satisfaction leading to lower rates of attrition, saving you time and money spent on recruiting replacements.
- Increased Productivity – In strategically aligned companies, each employee, manager, and executive have a job to do. Like a finely tuned Swiss watch, each part contributes to the success of the whole. Because the organization relies on each person to do their job well, there is greater accountability for the work accomplished. Employees produce high quality work and succeed together.
- Resource Preservation – Well-defined positions leave little wiggle room for distractions, squeezing out redundant work and side projects that do not contribute to company strategy. Resources are better concentrated towards meeting short and long-term company goals.
Recruiting firms specialize in finding the right person for every position. They can help you define positions within your organization to fill skill gaps and distinguish individuals who can help you take the next steps forward to achieving your company’s strategic goals. They vet their extensive network of contacts to identify those with the unique skills you need now and in the future.