When was the last time you invited your employees to participate in a planning session for your company? Your employees will have some of the best ideas about what needs to be done to be successful. In addition, spending a planning day with your employees will help to ensure they buy-in, understand, and focus on your company’s key objectives. It also engenders employee loyalty and goodwill – people appreciate and value being asked for their thoughts and feedback.
A few things to help your planning day be successful:
■ Invite every employee to participate.
■ Let your employees know ahead of time the agenda and what will be expected of them so that they can come prepared to participate.
■ If budget allows, hire an outside “strategic planning” facilitator to help plan and conduct the session.
■ Take some time at the beginning of the session to conduct a “State of the Company” — brief the team on how the business is doing, key priorities, challenges, and opportunities.
■ Keep the session results focused – ensure goals are identified, responsibilities are assigned, and due dates are designated.
■ Be sure you allow for different feedback styles – not everyone is comfortable with sharing their thoughts in a group setting. Use techniques such as 1.) jotting ideas down on index cards, collecting the cards, and having someone read them to the group and 2.) sharing ideas in smaller groups that are written on flip charts and then shared by a “spokesperson” with the larger group.
■ Incorporate the plans that are developed into ongoing meetings that are focused on monitoring progress.
Take some time today to identify a date for your planning session with your employees – it’s critical to achieving your company goals and growing your profits!