With 2021 almost over, it’s time to plan for 2022. Make the most of employee ownership by integrating SMART goals into your 2022 ownership culture and communication planning process.

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Time based 

Variations on the acronym exist, but you can utilize SMART to create a clear ownership communications plan, execute the plan and evaluate your effort. 

To build and enhance your employee-ownership culture, set two-to-four concrete, specific goals for 2022. Whether you want to produce a quarterly communication about your ESOP, hold a customized training session, discuss ESOP performance during your annual meeting, create an ESOP communications committee, start sharing financial information or engage employees as owners in their daily work, the key is to identify and write down something specific. The more specific and narrow your objectives are, the better. Remember to align your goals with your company’s vision, mission and values.  

How will you know if you’re making progress toward achieving your goal? Define specific evidence that you’ll look at/for to know that you’re on track. For example, if your goal is to develop an ESOP Communications Committee, you can target involving management in determining the Committee’s purpose and composition, creating criteria for how Committee members will be selected and launching the Committee. Whatever goal you set, a great tool to evaluate effectiveness is conducting a survey with employee owners before you begin working toward your goal and near 2022’s end. Survey results will help you gauge the success of your efforts and recalibrate for 2023. 

Is achieving the goal within your power (or the abilities of the team assigned to attain it) and do you have the time, resources, support and knowledge to accomplish it? If, for instance, you want to run an interactive ESOP training session, like the Workplace Development ESOP game, do you have the skills in house to make that happen? If you’re producing videos, written or electronic company-specific employee ownership communications, does your staff have the tools, ESOP knowledge and free time to create them? Remember that more can be less. In other words, it’s often better to achieve one goal fully than to make 20% progress on five different ones. Expectations play a major role in whether we believe an ownership-development process is successful, so be mindful of how many goals you include in your 2022 ownership communications plan.  

When you’re communicating about employee ownership at your company, people want to know about your ESOP’s operations and specifics, not ESOPs in general. Make your communications and training relevant by tailoring your employee ownership messages to your company and gearing them to where people are in their own ESOP lifecycle. For example, fully vested participants no longer need to hear about how to become vested. Conversely, while it’s beneficial to inform all employee owners about diversification, going into the specifics of the process only makes sense for people who are eligible, or will soon be eligible, to diversify. Always remember that you’re communicating and training adults, so make the information things they need to know. 

Every good plan has a timeline attached to it. The key, of course, is breaking your goal into achievable actions and putting target dates on each step. That will allow you to focus time, energy and resources on your effort and hold people accountable.  

In the end, a SMART-based communications and training strategy will enable your company, ESOP and all employee owners to become more successful. If you’d like to discuss how our successful services can help you build your ownership culture, please contact Workplace Development at kalterman@workplacedevelopment.com.