3 ways to help employees understand the big picture

By AIM Team
May 06, 2017

We’ve talked about why a company’s mission should read loud and clear and explained that a well-executed mission impacts employee satisfaction, retention and productivity. So, now let’s explore how mission and communication play into a team’s understanding of the “big picture.”

If leadership focuses too much on long-term goals, they run the risk of boring employees, or even worse, alienating them and making them feel like a cog in the machine–for example, it’s probably best to leave the IPO discussion off the table.

With all of that in mind, we offer a few ways to help get employees thinking about the big picture:

Encourage cross-training and shadowing.

Give your employees the opportunity to see what others are doing. This breaks up the monotony of doing the same task over and over again and gives co-workers a chance to connect. Cross-training or shadowing fosters a mutual understanding and respect between peers.

When employees see their colleagues in action, they gain valuable insights into how each role serves the company and its mission. Team members also develop an understanding of how their outputs affect others further down the workflow.

Create cross-departmental encounters.

Many companies now see the value in serendipitous. cross-departmental encounters. “Steve Jobs famously designed the Pixar headquarters with central bathrooms so that people from around the company would run into each other,” according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. Besides central bathrooms and open work spaces, companies experiment with all kinds of ways to get employees talking.

To encourage knowledge sharing, some companies have implemented programs that allow interested employees to attend meetings in other departments. These employees don’t simply observe in silence; they ask questions, contribute ideas, make recommendations. Most importantly, they bring valuable knowledge back to their team.

Establish an internal company social channel.

We can develop tunnel vision at work, focusing solely on the next task or deadline. Plus, most employees just never get a chance to learn about other teams’ projects or initiatives in other departments.

Uninformed employees can’t connect the dots. To avoid this issue, managers can create an easy way for team members to stay informed. Internal communications tools, like Slack, have revolutionized the way projects are managed, the way teams ideate and the way companies innovate.

Each company, team and project can tailor the communications platform to suit their needs and working style. That’s the beauty of communication applications like Slack–they’re flexible.

Employees understand the core values of the organization when they are well informed. In the end, you can help create a sense of ownership among your employees, which in turn makes them want to work harder–and that can do wonders for a company.