Organizations large and small often find a gap between their vision and mission and the output of the organization. Employees often struggle to align their daily work to the company’s mission and vision, and a lot has been written about the value of ensuring employees have “meaningful work” that directly supports and advances the company’s goals.
I once had an executive at a Fortune 500 company tell me that “all projects are IT projects”. It is a statement I have remembered and repeated in many situations. Indeed, technology is a key component to empowering employees to align and produce meaningful work (one of the highest ideals held by employees at any organization), not to simply generate additional “widgets” or other types of output that are not clearly aligned with organizational vision. It does this by helping to provide a framework for creating and supporting an environment of good communication and accountability.
In conjunction with technology, organizational Objectives and Measures are a great way to translate the company Mission and Vision into measurable and time sensitive plans. Most often, these are created yearly through an executive review process and then driven through the levels of the organization to create alignment and accountability. To effectively use technology to help drive this process and realize the benefits from it, these core technology capabilities should be considered:
1. Use performance management tools
A Performance Management tool is one key aspect of creating this alignment. Many technology solutions are available to help “cascade” or “waterfall” goals from upper management down to the employees in the organization. Users typically perform large updates to their goals occasionally and enter smaller status updates or changes more frequently. There is often a struggle to get management to align and complete their goals so that the employees in the organization can create and validate their own during the course of a performance review period. A solid implementation plan and ongoing consistency is required to make these tools successful in the organization.
Many objectives and measures require consistent communication to employees to keep them engaged and focused. Typically, projects and initiatives are created to achieve the objectives and the need for strong communication tools is ever present. There are multiple types of communication tools available to organizations these days. Regardless of the communication style (email, intranet, social, push, pull) good communications follow a consistent planning, delivery and measurement process.
Our own ElevatePoint solutions are designed to support the needs of communication teams that use SharePoint.
3. Use project management tools
Few things drive accountability at the employee level of an organization more than a strong project management practice. Technologies to support project management have been around for a long time. There are many different choices from simple tools like an excel spreadsheet to collaborative tools like a SharePoint project site and even Microsoft Project or an industry specific project tools such as a Construction Management System (CMS).
Often the best ideas and productivity gains happen from new connections in an organization between employees, departments or initiatives. Having a platform in place to support your collaborative culture makes perfect sense. Many organizations use Office 365 or SharePoint on premise to support collaboration but there are many great solutions available. An assessment of your needs and budget is required to make the right plan. One aspect of collaboration as it relates to Objectives and Measures is to keep it fun. Introducing elements of gamification into the process (for example, earning badges when you do your part in helping to complete a key, aligned organizational initiative) is one way companies are leveraging technology to improve collaboration and a sense of interest in doing meaningful work.
Many new initiatives require new skills or processes that employees must be trained on. E-learning technology has become central to the sustainability of initiatives and even
The one time classroom style trainings don’t account for remote, new and transitioning employees very well, whereas many modern e-learning platforms provide any-time, anywhere access to critical training and certification features for all employees.
The key idea here is to first and foremost build a great culture that places the appropriate level of value on clear, well-defined objectives and measures that employees can align to, and then to empower the workforce to produce meaningful, aligned work through the use of great technology tools.
A culture of accountability and excellence will drive the need and use of technologies that assist motivated employees in achieving the company objectives and measures (not the other way around).