You want your business to thrive, and to ensure it’s reaching new heights each quarter you must implement regular strategic planning into your routine.
Strategic planning is “… an organizational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment. “ according to the Balanced Scorecard Institute.
For more resources on strategic planning, you can view my previous blog posts
While strategic planning can be completed solely by those within the company, some businesses are finding that bringing in a strategic planning facilitator helps them to yield better results from the overall process.
This blog post will outline the duties of a strategic planning facilitator and why it might be a good idea to add one to your company’s process.
A strategic planning facilitator is a consultant hired by a company to guide a business through their strategic planning meeting.
If you don’t hire an outside facilitator, you or whoever is leading the meeting takes on the role of facilitator.
There are many benefits associated with hiring an outside strategic planning facilitator which will be highlighted below.
The responsibilities associated with being a strategic planning facilitator might include
Preparing for a strategic planning meeting can be extremely time-consuming. Hiring a facilitator can take most of the logistical preparation duties off your plate. This is always a welcome benefit for those typically tasked with that duty.
When those within a company are having conversations about the business, they are very close to the situation. Sometimes it’s difficult to fully see a case for what it is when you are in it. That’s why bringing in a strategic planning facilitator allows you to hear an outside perspective on the strategy and issues at hand.
While an outside perspective isn’t exactly necessary, it can be beneficial to hear what a neutral party thinks about a decision.
It’s simple to get off track when having a meeting, especially if that’s the culture of your company. Having a strategic planning facilitator allows you to stay on track throughout the process, so you are only addressing relevant topics that will help you achieve the goal of the planning session.
Facilitators are used to dealing with many people with various personality types so he or she can help to keep the meeting moving in a positive direction despite any disagreements or tough conversations that might take place.
When one person from the company is facilitating the meeting, they’re unable to also fully participate. Hiring a strategic planning facilitator ensures that every person who is a part of the planning committee can be present and participate as much as possible.
It’s common for more outgoing personalities to dominate the conversation. Having experienced strategic planning facilitator helps to keep those present engaged, so everyone has a voice.
Strategic planning facilitators bring their skill set to the stage throughout the process. Instead of trying to figure it out as you go, using a proven method allows you to ensure you are following a framework for strategic planning success.
Having a proven process also reduces the risk that those in attendance will waste time. Clearing the schedule to hold a strategic planning meeting means that every minute counts and the time spent planning should be used effectively.
Now, despite knowing what a strategic planning facilitator does and the benefits associated with bringing one to the table, you might be questioning whether your business is ready for that commitment. Here are a few telltale signs that it’s time to hire a facilitator for your strategic planning meetings.
When you know in advance that tough topics or concerns must be addressed during the meeting, it might be best to bring in a facilitator. This is especially true if there is a history of communication breakdowns when discussing tough issues as a company.
If your meetings lead to conversations about everything under the sun beyond the purpose of the meeting, you will surely benefit from having a strategic planning facilitator. Consider the opportunity cost associated with having this meeting. There’s no time to waste.
If your team has difficulty communicating with each other well, especially regarding tough issues, save yourself the headache of facilitating the conversation by hiring an outside specialist. They’re from outside the company, so they can bring out the best conversation amongst those involved to help reach the ultimate goal.
Deciding to hire a strategic planning facilitator is an important one. You must ensure you hire the right person with the best experience and personality to work with your company.
The benefit of bringing in a facilitator will undoubtedly improve the process and developing a top-notch strategic plan will hopefully lead to increased business success and employee satisfaction. Happy employees are engaged employees and engagement leads to success, so it’s always important to keep that correlation in mind.
To learn more about increasing employee engagement, download my free book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement.
Finding a highly skilled, hardworking and consistent employee to join your team can be a difficult task. Some companies find it just as challenging to decrease turnover rates of their best employees.
The reason an employee chooses to resign can vary widely. Some get married and move to another state. Others decide to start their own business. They might have a baby and decide to stay home or even win the lottery. Those are all based on circumstances that have more to do with their personal lives and less to do with the decisions made by their managers.
The other reasons good employees quit their jobs are often directly related to their employer. Poor management, lack of advancement opportunities, and the inability to maintain a work/life balance are some of the reasons given by good employees who choose to quit their jobs.
When you are dedicated to keeping the employees you manage satisfied and employed with your company, you must first develop a firm understanding of the top reasons why good employees leave their jobs.
Wendy Durante Duckrey, Vice President of recruiting at JPMorgan, is famously quoted as saying, “most people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their boss.”
It is also one of the top reasons good employees give for leaving a job.
When an employee feels supported, encouraged, and motivated by their superior, they will work harder for them, and remain more dedicated to their position.
If they feel their needs are not being met and their concerns are not being addressed, they are less likely to remain with the company, not due to the job itself, but due to management issues.
Unfortunately, there appears to be a lack of proper training for many who enter into managerial positions. It involves more than paperwork and tracking metrics. Managers must have strong people skills and the ability to develop relationships with those who work under them.
Otherwise, employers who struggle to manage their employees will continue to face the harsh reality that goes along with high turnover rates.
There’s nothing worse than going to work every day, doing your job to the best of your ability, being expected to go above and beyond your required tasks, and feeling underappreciated and undervalued by those at your job.
It is one of the fastest ways to decrease employee engagement and to lose a good employee.
You can make your employees feel valued in many ways including:
The ways in which you can make your employees feel valued are endless and can fit any budget your company has.
While all employees should be made to feel appreciated, it’s especially important to do this for employees who are continually working hard and taking on additional responsibilities beyond what they’ve been hired to do.
Most employees want to feel challenged in their career. Being in a job with no advancement opportunities, be it their position or a significant salary change, will often lead to the search for new employment, especially when they recognize their value as an employee.
It’s important to give employees an opportunity to stay with your company as they improve their skills and advance in their career.
You can do this by making new job opportunities known to employees within the company, so they have first dibs before bringing in outsiders.
Also, check in with your employees at minimum once per year to discuss their career goals. This will allow you to gain an understanding of how your employees are feeling regarding their current position and hopes for the future.
Also, offering educational opportunities and tuition reimbursement opportunities can provide your employee with a reason to remain with your company while gaining skills that can lead to advancement in the future.
Today more than ever, the desire to have a career that still allows for flexibility, time with family and friends, and a healthy personal life is at the top of many employees’ list.
When employees are overworked, it reduces their ability to maintain a healthy a work/life balance.
It’s often found that good employees who show their ability to handle their job and take on additional responsibilities find the weight of their department placed on their shoulders. While it might be seen as a way to show your trust in the employee, it is actually a form of punishment. It shows that when an employee performs well, they are rewarded with additional work and no salary increase.
When you want to give an employee additional responsibilities, it should be a non-negotiable that a salary increase or position advancement comes along with those added responsibilities.
If your goal is to keep your good employees working with your company, it’s crucial that you stay abreast of their needs and wants career wise. In most situations, a highly skilled employee will be able to find another position, so you must consider what you need to do to keep them with your company.
Understand that you are working with people. People who have families. People who have personal lives. People with dreams, wishes, and goals. People with feelings.
When you keep that at the forefront of your mind, you will treat your employees like real people and your good employees will recognize your humanism and be more likely to stay around.
When you treat them like they’re disposable, they will dispose of their position and find another.
As you work to ensure your employees remain within your company, it’s also vital that you keep employee engagement high. It is one of the key factors to maintaining low turnover rates within a company.
If you’re searching for a resource that will help you maintain a workforce that is highly engaged, download a free copy of my book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement which features best practices for getting your employees involved in your company’s success.