The Impact of Effective Strategic Planning and Leadership on Employee Satisfaction

Article excerpt

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The relationship between strategic planning, leadership, and communication is purported to have a major impact on employee satisfaction. In addition, if employee satisfaction is high, enhanced customer service is an implicit outcome. This paper assesses the impact of leadership on employee satisfaction using a longitudinal study. The implication is that effective leadership leads to high employee satisfaction with a commensurate increase in productivity. This study profiles the attitudes and perceptions of a rural school district by its employees including the relationships, roles, and contributions that employees and culture play in the development of job satisfaction. Drawing on a sample of three longitudinal sets of employee data, psychographic motives, demographic attributes, and employee activities are revealed.

Keywords: Leadership, productivity, strategic planning

INTRODUCTION

This paper addresses the impact of effective strategic planning and leadership on employee satisfaction using a longitudinal study. In 2000, the school board of a school district in New York State implemented a survey to assess the level of employee satisfaction. The purpose of the first survey was to establish a benchmark for future reference as the district implemented its strategic planning initiatives. In 2003 and 2007, the same survey, with some modifications, was administered to all employees in the school district in order to assess the impact of strategic and tactical efforts by the school board and the school's administration, as well as to assess if there is a change in employee satisfaction. Findings indicate that effective strategic planning followed by implementation of appropriate tactics leads to higher employee satisfaction and improved performance. However, the longitudinal study also suggests that ineffective leadership has a deleterious effect on employee satisfaction and productivity.

The study is motivated by three observations. First, there appears to be increasing use of strategic planning by educational institutions with no corresponding measures of the success and the effectiveness of the strategic planning process. second, why do some educational institutions out perform others, given the same level of resources (Barney & Arikan, 2001). Formal strategic planning, as a key factor in educational environments, has not been documented. Third, investigation and research work in strategic planning initiatives in the not-for-profit sector is still at its early stage. Existing conceptual frameworks need to be further tested, substantiated and refined. Particularly a further understanding of the relationship between the strategic planning and enterprise/employee performance would have enormous potential to benefit an organization's long-term strategic performance. This paper is a study of relationship and interaction between strategic planning and employee satisfaction with a focus on the process perspective of the implementation using a case study approach. The paper concludes with findings, implications and recommendations for research.

METHODOLOGY

Case Study

In 2000, 2003, and 2007, the School Board authorized the implementation of an Employee Satisfaction Survey to assess the attitudes and perceptions of the school district by its employees. The goal of the board and administration was to gather this information without suffering the consequences of biased information. An additional goal was to establish a continuous benchmark for long range program planning and employee satisfaction within the district.

Statement of Problem

The purpose of the Central School District survey was to give the school board a better understanding of the unbiased wants and needs of the district's employees. In addition, the survey would provide to the board and administration not only feedback for targeted areas upon which to focus, but also a benchmark for continuous improvement. …