There are many obvious reasons to involve your employees in the planning process. In prior posts we have shown how employee involvement:
It probably wouldn’t come as a surprise that employees are also clearer on expectations and more likely to have a performance review that they perceive as fair. These are relatively straightforward outcomes of involving people in planning.
Based on our research, involving employees in planning has three less-obvious benefits for leaders. Statistically speaking, these benefits are just as important as the ones mentioned above to achieve more goals and engage more people. Here are the three less-obvious benefits.
1. People understand how the organization's goals are aligned with its overall mission and vision.
Involvement in the planning process helps people see how their work contributes to a bigger cause. But there is a nuance whereby they also have a better understanding of how all goals are connected to the mission and vision, rather than just those of an individual or their team.
This connection is easy to establish when we set Complete Goals™. A complete goal defines the commitments of support we need to establish between teams for organizational objectives to be achieved, not just the objectives themselves. When we plan in this manner, people are able to create conditions for collaboration. Not only do people see the importance of their team’s work – they are also able to see the importance of other teams’ work as well. In our experience this encourages groups to ask for, give, and receive assistance from other teams. They are also more likely to say that people are held accountable for commitments.
2. People are more likely to see an organizational vision that inspires them.
When people connect their work (and the work of their colleagues) to a bigger purpose or mission, it is more likely that this higher calling will inspire them. A planning process that involves employees in setting Complete Goals™ provides people with context they would not otherwise have. We help teams draw a straight line from activity on the lowest levels of the organization directly to the mission and vision of the organization.
Surprisingly, when people are inspired by a vision they are also much more likely to say that leaders in the organization care about their personal and professional development. In fact, all 31 questions in our High-Performance Index are more than 50% correlated with an employee seeing a vision that inspires them.
3. Employees are more likely to say their manager truly lives the organization's values and principles.
Often our organizational values and leadership principles say we care about our people or help them to be more autonomous. Few things make a stronger statement about how much you value your people than involving them in planning. When they are involved in helping set the organizational direction and define the work that they will do, involving people in planning is a great way to ‘walk the talk’ of your organizational values and leadership principles.