While the main goal of businesses as a whole will be to boost the bottom line in 2014, each department will be focused on different priorities to try to make that happen, new research shows.
A study by consulting firm Root Inc. revealed the top issues businesses will be addressing this year are improving customer experience, driving higher levels of employee engagement, helping employees understand company strategy, and developing leadership or manager competencies.
When broken down by specific departments of a company, the top priorities for 2014 are:
- Human Resources/Training: Growing manager skills and increasing employee engagement.
- Operations/Strategy: Enhancing the customer experience and sustaining strategy over the long term.
- Marketing: Enhancing the customer experience and deploying new strategies or initiatives.
- Communications: Deploying new strategies or initiatives and enhancing the customer experience.
Rich Berens, president of Root Inc., said it is important each department knows what the other is focused on, so as not to waste time duplicating efforts.
"One of the most interesting findings is that across multiple functions, organizations are focused on many of the same things because they recognize how important they are to the business, but the dots are often not connected well across functions," Berens said. "As a result, execution suffers."
When rolling out new ideas and strategies internally, the research found that businesses vary in how they go about it. The top ways of communicating new tactics to employees include:
- Leadership team to manager: 56 percent roll out new strategies via one-on-one conversations with key managers or influencers within the company.
- Corporate presentation: 56 percent develop and disseminate presentations to the company.
- Town hall: 52 percent conduct town hall and Q&A meetings.
- Development programs: 52 percent institute manager/leadership development programs to support new strategy execution.
- Roundtables: 46 percent conduct small roundtable discussions to communicate a new strategy or initiative.
- Videos: 35 percent communicate new corporate initiatives and messages through pre-recorded videos and movies.
- Training: 22 percent develop customized, consultant-based training programs for employees, while 11 percent purchase "boxed" training solutions to help build employee skills for a new strategy or initiative.
- Outside consultants: 19 percent hire strategy execution consultants as facilitators for additional perspective before a strategy rollout.
Berens said he found it interesting that many businesses are still defaulting to the traditional PowerPoint presentation or town hall meetings when conveying new strategies or initiatives to the rest of the company. While those sometimes serve a purpose, he said, leaders should look at methods that aren't just a "tell" to the employees with whom they are trying to connect.
"They need to convey information in a way that creates intellectual and emotional commitment and clarity on how people can connect to the larger goals of the company," Berens said. "That's when they’ll see real success."
The study was based on surveys of 333 U.S.-based full-time and part-time employees across a variety of industries and departments, all at a manager or higher level with decision-making authority.
Originally published on Business News Daily.