Harvard Business Review: The Power of Employee Alignment

By Betterworks
July 13, 2016
2 minute read

70% of employees say alignment is the greatest hurdle to achieving company strategy. So where does the alignment issue reside: with the individual, or with executives who fail to communicate the company strategy effectively?

Only 17% of employees strongly agree their company has open communication. Individual workers don’t know what to prioritize or why, which contributes to the staggering [tweet text=”Read how open communication impacts employee engagement at work”]70% of us who remain disengaged at work.[/tweet]  Aligning employees with company strategy is directly correlated with positive operational and business results.

Turns out, the [tweet text=”70% say alignment is the greatest hurdle to achieving company strategy. Read more from @KDuggan”]problem of misalignment[/tweet] spans all facets of the business. But when an organization’s employees are aligned around goals and company priorities, they remain focused, productive and engaged.

A recent BetterWorks-sponsored Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report outlines how employee alignment boosts the bottom line. Download the full report here, or read on for the highlights:

Employee alignment motivates. Studies show that progress toward a meaningful goal is the top motivator for employees. As it stands, employees are often unsure what to prioritize, and unclear about how their individual work makes a big difference to the mission of the organization. Once organizations align individuals to long-term goals, they’ll experience heightened retention and better execution.

Goal achievement leads to long-term employee satisfaction. Goals let employees feel connected to the company’s mission. Once they’re personally invested and responsible, it impacts the quality and quantity of their accomplishments. Bersin by Deloitte found organizations that make it easy for employees to set clear goals are four times more likely to rank in the top 25 percent of business outcomes.

Real alignment impacts business outcomes. As the report indicates, organizations frequently experience a correlation between aligned employees and business results. Higher-performing employees report a formal linkage between corporate and individual goals, and companies with aligned, high-performing employees are 2.2 times more likely to be top performers compared with the competition.

For more information on the [tweet text=”How does alignment across an organization increase profits for a business? https://www.betterworks.com/hbr-employee-alignment-2016/”]magnitude of employee disengagement,[/tweet] and how alignment can not only aid in resolving this problem, but also boost an organization’s bottom line, read the full Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report.

What is employee alignment?

Many companies may see employee alignment in different ways, but they can agree that employee alignment means that each team member understands his or her role, as well as how it relates to the company as a whole.

For companies to be successful, employees must be able to align with company strategies. This equates to everyone being on the same page as often as possible.

When is employee alignment unsuccessful?

Employee alignment can lead to poor outcomes when employees are unsure of their role in a company. They may understand their title, but they may not understand how they fit into the big picture.

Another culprit is low employee engagement. When employees do not feel a connection to the company for which they work, then their need to understand how their work affects the company becomes far less pressing.

Can setting goals affect employee alignment?

Goals can help employees feel connected to a mission – one which is typically company-wide. In working toward these goals as a group, the entire team aligns and becomes actively engaged.

Research has shown that companies that set goals are far more successful in their business ventures. The same applies to employee retention.