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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Anslow Gunther

Harnessing Employee Input: The Key to Effective Strategic Decision-Making




One of my clients was looking to develop a strategic plan for their company. To prepare, they researched and reviewed several external factors and believed they had a clear perspective and understanding of the company's strengths and weaknesses. As I probed deeper, I was surprised to learn they had not surveyed their employees to help inform their decisions. 


The client planned to have the executive team go behind closed doors and hash out a strategic plan for the company. I emphasized the importance of including employee’s input in this crucial process, and they took my advice. It made me think that other companies have made strategic decisions without including employee input. I caution businesses to refrain from making these critical decisions in a vacuum but instead recognize the advantages of integrating employee perspectives before making strategic decisions for a company.


Some of the benefits of harnessing employee input:


1. Enhanced Decision Making

Employees are an organization's frontline. They possess invaluable insights into day-to-day operations, customer interactions, and market trends. By tapping into this wealth of firsthand knowledge, decision-makers gain a more comprehensive understanding of the company's challenges and opportunities. This leads to more informed, well-rounded decisions with higher chances of success.


2. Increased Employee Engagement and Ownership

Involving employees in decision-making fosters a sense of ownership and belonging within the organization. Employees who feel their voices are heard and valued become more engaged and committed to the company's goals. This heightened sense of involvement translates into increased productivity, creativity, and loyalty, driving overall organizational performance.


3. Diverse Perspectives and Innovation

Every employee brings unique experiences, skills, and perspectives to the table. By harnessing this diversity, decision-makers can access a broader range of ideas and solutions. Encouraging open dialogue and brainstorming sessions can spark innovation and creative problem-solving, leading to breakthroughs that might have been overlooked in a closed decision-making process.


4. Better Implementation and Buy-In

When employees are involved in the decision-making process from the outset, they are more likely to support and actively participate in implementing those decisions. This reduces resistance to change, streamlines execution, and accelerates the pace of implementation. Furthermore, employees who feel that their input was considered are more inclined to champion the decisions within their teams, fostering a culture of collaboration and alignment.


5. Strengthened Organizational Culture

Inclusive decision-making practices contribute to a positive organizational culture of transparency, trust, and mutual respect. This culture attracts top talent, improves employee retention, and enhances the company's reputation as an employer of choice. A solid organizational culture is a powerful competitive advantage in today's dynamic business environment.


6. Mitigated Risks and Improved Adaptability

Companies can identify potential risks and challenges more effectively by involving employees in strategic decision-making. Employees closest to operational realities often have valuable insights into emerging threats and changing market dynamics. Proactively addressing these risks enables the organization to adapt more swiftly to evolving circumstances, staying ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive landscape.


Conclusion

The significance and advantages of including employee input before making strategic decisions for a company are undeniable. By leveraging the workforce's collective intelligence and creativity, organizations can make better-informed decisions, drive innovation, and foster a culture of engagement and ownership. In doing so, they enhance their competitive position and lay the groundwork for long-term success. Embracing employee input isn't just a choice; it's a strategic imperative for companies aspiring to thrive in today's dynamic business environment.


If you are interested in harnessing employee input to help drive improvements and make better decisions for your organization, please contact me at sgunther@clevershove.com or 518-275-8763.

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