Fresh Eyes on Strategy: Engaging New Employees as Strategic Leaders
Federal agencies are more frequently developing strategic plans to achieve mission success, and senior leaders are paying close attention to the implementation of these plans to make them a success. Effective implementation needs engagement from employees at all levels.
Often overlooked, aligning the energy and initiative of new employees towards strategic contributions can yield great results to sustain agency mission success and achieve long-term goals.
Development and execution of strategy are so closely correlated that agencies should consider involving new employees in strategy development early to facilitate effective implementation. New employees bring new perspectives to an agency as contributors to the diversity of collective knowledge and may bring the insightful questions and innovative solutions that elevate agency strategic plans. Federal agencies must constantly develop cutting-edge strategic plans, and harnessing the fresh perspective of new employees can enable agencies to innovate and excel.
To build an environment for new employees to contribute to strategy, agencies should encourage new employees to participate in cross-functional exercises, such as case studies or planning workshops, to enable them to see strategy in action. Agencies should also encourage new employees to take ownership of strategy as participants in strategic initiatives with action items, deliverables, and ownership of results. Through such exercises, employees will learn how to apply skills relevant to the strategy while agencies will be able to rapidly assess the new employee’s ability to effectively implement the strategy in support of the agency’s mission.
Orienting new employees in the organization’s strategy is also a great way for employees to learn their agency. New employees come in eager to establish themselves, and understanding how to navigate their agency is needed context to be a good agent for strategic implementation. Engaging employees in strategy implementation will familiarize new employees with the agency’s landscape, internal operations, and mission goals. New employees will learn to tie strategies into their daily habits and work activities as they look to make their mark in their new role.
Achieving strategic goals is vital to sustainable mission success. Leaving the development and execution of strategic planning to senior leadership alone can be an exhausting and ineffective effort. By orienting new employees as strategic leaders, an agency’s workforce can be better prepared to achieve mission success starting Day One.