What happens when your vehicle’s wheels are out of alignment?
As many of us have learned through experience, when tires are out of alignment, they start to wear unevenly and often wear down much faster. Your fuel efficiency will likely decrease as well. In addition, your car may not handle as well; you’ll likely have to make more minor adjustments when steering.
And what happens when you ignore the alignment issues?
Eventually, you may find it difficult to properly control your vehicle and can even increase the likelihood that you’ll be in an accident. To prevent these issues, experts recommend checking the alignment of your wheels on a regular schedule.
Similar issues can come into play if your department is not strategically aligned.
Lack of strategic alignment can take a massive toll on your team members. Your department will be less efficient, which you’ll pay for in terms of lower employee morale, increased expenses, unmet goals, etc. When your department is out of alignment, it is harder to control the direction of your team and facilitate and direct its growth. You may feel as if you constantly have to pivot to address conflicting needs and priorities.
So, what can be done to remedy this problem? Keep reading to learn how to get your team on the path to strategic alignment.
What is Strategic Alignment?
Strategic alignment is the process of bringing everything—from your business model to your core values to your company culture—into a harmonious agreement.
In a department, this means bringing the team’s culture and the actions of each employee in line with the department’s goals and objectives. Strategic alignment is essentially a comprehensive approach to streamlined teamwork.
How Do I Use Strategic Alignment to Grow and Strengthen My Department?
Strategic alignment within your department can help increase efficiency, increase employee morale (and often retention), and lead to the department producing higher-quality work.
Of course, there is a difference between knowing that strategic alignment is helpful and understanding how to use it to grow and strengthen your team. Use the following strategies to improve alignment in your department.
Create a Department Mission Statement/Purpose
In order for your department to come into better alignment, you need a standard to align to, and it’s best if that standard is defined and clearly outlined in a department mission statement or statement of purpose. To maintain alignment with company objectives, your departmental mission statement should support the mission statement of the organization.
While this may seem like a simple or small action, it can help focus your entire department. It is the foundation your department builds upon every time a new policy is enacted or a new employee is hired. You can even use it to define your department’s culture.
Define Roles Within the Department
Undefined roles lead to confusion and redundancies. It’s important to coach each employee to understand their role in the team (and company) so they are better able to fulfill their responsibilities and advance the goals of the department.
As you work to clearly define your employees’ roles within the company, make sure to include how the parts they play support the department and the organization overall. Help your employees understand how different roles work together to help the team, department, and business move forward.
As your employees start to understand how their roles make an impact on other roles and the department as a whole, you will enjoy several benefits:
- Employees will understand how their job makes a difference, which leads to greater employee satisfaction and retention.
- Employees will know who is responsible for what in the department. This can lead to greater efficiency.
- Hiring managers will be better able to recruit and hire the right candidates for different roles when those roles are clearly defined.
Tie Individual Goals into Department Goals
During employee evaluations and goal-setting conversations, encourage (or require) employees to set goals that are in line with the department’s mission statement and longer-term objectives. This accomplishes two things:
- The department will experience greater efficiency when goals are coordinated at every level.
- The employee will feel greater ownership over the direction and advancement of the department.
Involve Your Employees in Making Decisions
It’s obviously inappropriate to make certain decisions via committee. However, if you can allow and encourage your employees to participate in the decision-making process, you’ll help them feel appreciated by letting them be involved in making real decisions that will affect the company. As a result, there will be less separation between their goals, the department’s goals, and the company’s goals. Employees will also be less resistant to new policies when they have a hand in developing them.
In addition, involving employees in important decisions makes them more likely to feel that the department cares about and listens to them, which is an essential element in employee retention. Employees stay longer and work harder when they feel like they make a measurable contribution to the business.
As you implement these methods, you’ll increase the strategic alignment within your department, which can lead to greater efficiency, better retention rates, and a happier, more productive workforce.