Why Employees Need a Say in Your Business Planning When employees help set your company's goals, they'll be more committed to seeing them through. Here are some strategies to better engage employees in business planning.

By Dave Lavinsky

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Shutterstock

The other day, I presented a webinar to hundreds of entrepreneurs on key organizational changes that boost profits. During the webinar, I asked the following question: Do you have a written list of the top five goals you need to accomplish this year to give your company the best chance of long-term success?

The overwhelming majority responded "no."

I followed up by asking if they believed having this written list would allow their businesses to grow more successfully. They unanimously agreed.

This list of priorities is the basis for the business plan that successful companies develop each year. But sitting down and writing the business plan by yourself is not enough. You must involve your employees.

Let me explain why. Research from Harvard Business School and the Balanced Scorecard Collaborative, now part of The Palladium Group based in Boston, found that 95 percent of a typical workforce doesn't understand its organization's strategy. Think about that for a minute. Ninety-five percent of your employees don't understand your strategy. If that's the case, how could they possibly perform at their peak? How could they possibly make the right decisions when doing their jobs? Clearly, they can't.

Related: 5 Ways to Train Yourself to Be a Great Leader

The solution to this disconnect is fairly straightforward. Get your employees' input in developing your business plan. When you do so, they will clearly understand your organization's strategy and goals. They will also become more productive. Because they helped develop your strategy and goals, they will be more motivated to help you achieve them.

Here are four steps to involve your employees in the business planning process:

1. Ask for their feedback.
Ask each of your employees to identify the three things they think are working best and the three things that are least effective in your business. Brainstorm with them to figure out how your company can do more of what's working, and fix -- or simply stop doing -- what's not serving your business.

2. Have them set goals for the business.
Have your employees establish specific goals for each functional area of your business they are involved in. For example, within marketing, do they have specific goals for the number of leads generated during the year? Does your manufacturing staff have goals for the number of products produced?

Related: Richard Branson on Building a Strong Reputation

3. Build a plan off their ideas.
Develop the business plan using your employees' input. Once completed, have employees read the plan. Make sure they understand and agree with your strategy. Be open to modifying it if they don't.

4. Meet and update your goals monthly.
Annual goals are impossible to accomplish unless they are broken down into smaller goals. For example, an annual goal of acquiring 1,200 new customers is overwhelming. But when you break it down to 100 new customers per month or 25 new customers per week, it's more attainable.

Set goals with your team each month so that when they are accomplished, your company is on track to meet yearly targets. As needed, revise your annual goals up or down based on monthly results.

Great companies have a leader who involves employees in developing their strategy, plans and goals. Do this and your business with thrive.

Related: How to Get Ahead by Being Generous

Dave Lavinsky

Author and Co-founder of Growthink and Guiding Metrics

Dave Lavinsky is the co-founder of Growthink, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs identify and pursue new opportunities, develop business plans, raise capital and build growth strategies. He is also the founder of Guiding Metrics, a company that tracks KPIs to help businesses grow faster and more profitably, and the author of Start at The End (Wiley, 2012).

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Side Hustle

These Are the Highest-Paying Side Hustles for a Single Day of Work

Earn the most money in the least amount of time.

Growing a Business

4 Steps to Becoming a Sales-Focused Founder (and Why It's Important)

A company might have a great product, but scaling the business calls for a well-oiled sales machine, as I learned with my first startup.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Marketing

If You Sell Anything Online in 2024, Make Sure You Take These 5 Steps

With shoppers craving connection, retailers that make the human touch part of their ecommerce play could find themselves rewarded.

Leadership

Unlock The Art of Convincing Stakeholders to Approve and Execute Your Ideas

There's a big difference between approval-seeking and being your own biggest advocate.

Starting a Business

For Years, This Black Founder Learned an Uncommon But Essential Craft on the Side. Now His Creations Are Beloved By Celebrity Chefs — and Can Sell for More Than $1,000.

A chance encounter with a legendary knifemaker would lead Quintin Middleton, owner of Middleton Made Knives, to follow his long-time passion into business.