An ineffective roll out strategy can trip up even the best-laid plans.
As nonprofit leaders, we and our staff and board spend a lot of time developing the most impactful possible strategies to accomplish our organizations’ missions. Whether it’s a 3–5-year strategic plan or a new program, we put in hard work on the front end designing our strategy.
We consult best practices. We bring in expert consultants. We work with skilled facilitators to encourage our teams’ most brilliant, and often unexpected, ideas. And then we write up a compelling plan, our board approves it, and we’re ready to go!
Not so fast. Whether you call it program implementation or rollout, the road from a great idea to a functioning and successful program is filled with plenty of potholes. That’s why we recommend treating your roll out strategy and implementation plan as just as critical your initial strategy development.
A Major Roll Out Strategy Example in Action
One rollout strategy we’ve been watching closely is the trend for more states to require business to include pay ranges in job postings. It’s a shift many employees and job seekers are excited about in terms of equity and fairness, and also one that many HR departments are grappling with how to implement.
For us here at Funding for Good, we know how critical pay equity is. But as consultants that work with a wide range of organizations, we’re also interested in companies’ different roll out strategies and their impact.
What we’ve seen is that roll out strategy so far has varied widely across businesses. For example, Forbes reports that some major companies are posting “unrealistically broad salary ranges for some job postings, limiting the utility of the law.” For example, a salary range of $60k to $200k gives a job seeker little to go on when considering whether to apply for a position.
Which brings us to the question of what makes a good roll out strategy?
1) Know Your Roll Out Strategy Goals
The first step is to understand and document the goals for your roll out strategy. This is in addition to your program goals. For example, if you’re rolling out a pay transparency program, is your end goal to attract the best possible talent within your organization’s budget? If your budget is limited, that means you might want your job postings to focus on both the salary and the full range of benefits you offer employees.
2) Consider Your Roll Out Strategy Audiences and Their Needs
When you’re rolling out any kind of strategy, you’ll need to think about your audiences. In the case of pay transparency, that includes both current and prospective staff.
As NPR explains about the pay transparency from the employee perspective:
Few topics are as emotionally charged as salary. It is, after all, the most concrete expression of how much our workplace and company values us and our work. And things can get messy.
When developing a roll out strategy, it’s worth considering all your prospective audiences. For each audience, consider:
- Will they be directly affected? If so, how?
- What concerns may they have about the new program or initiative? How can your roll out strategy address these concerns?
- What are the potential benefits—and potential downside—for each different audience? How will you communicate those?
- What communication method resonates best with each audience? For example, will you combine written announcements with community meetings?
3) Plan for Challenges and Hard Questions
No roll out strategy ever goes exactly according to plan. Which is why it’s critical to approach program and organizational strategy development—such as strategic planning—as an ongoing process, rather than a one-time effort or product.
This ensures you and your leadership team are prepared to focus on your long-term goals, even when you’re responding to immediate challenges.
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