Of the hundreds of tools and techniques used by leaders to improve the productivity of their workforce, here at ClearCompany we have found that goal transparency has proven to be extremely effective. We also love proving results with metrics and analytics, because numbers don’t lie. Goal transparency delivers those production numbers time after time, and here’s how.

The “Why” Motivates

Clearly communicating goals and every step within those goals gives workers the context of their work. But simply communicating isn’t quite enough. To deliver a goal like, Increase your close rate by XX% in the second quarter,without providing proper context might confuse or frustrate a salesperson already giving their all to reach their existing sales target.

How To Do It

Instead, help your employees understand why they need to increase sales in this way. When you follow up with how it impacts the company, you give them a sense of how their individual successes impact the entire company. For example, you could instead deliver the goal like this:

“We’re boosting your sales goals in Q2, so in order to hit your goals, you’ll need to increase your close rate by XX% so that you don’t fall short.”

How can #GoalTransparency transform productivity in your organization? Find out how with the latest from @ClearCompany:

When employees have a solid understanding of how their day-to-day responsibilities affect their immediate career, their fellow colleagues, and the company’s bottom line and trajectory, they are more likely to see themselves as part of a larger, integrated strategy. Employees see they are in charge of makes an impact on the organization as a whole, and that is extremely motivating. Tech and business journalist Karsten Strauss said:

“Business leaders have a clearer perspective on the bigger picture than their employees do. It pays to tell those under you what’s going on. Spreading the intel lets everyone in on the lay of the land and at the same time strengthens the feeling among workers that they are an important part of the organization.”

Off-Track Work is Wasted Work

Creating clear goals doesn’t just mean transparent macro business objectives, it means that each individual is supplied with consistent goals that have a clear tie to those objectives. If progress isn’t constantly monitored, work can get off-track quickly.

The real-time tracking of goals ensures that no irrelevant or inefficient work is going unaddressed. Our own Andre Lavoie explains it best:

“Company leaders are marching on confidently toward collective goals, but when they reach back for help, they realize their team has veered off long ago. All too often, employees are not aware of the larger goals that leadership is basing their strategy on. Teams and leaders start to drift in different directions when no one is quite sure how their own performance goals align with those of the company.”

Off-track work wastes company time and money, and it can impact the individual employee, often leading to discouragement and disengagement. It can happen for various reasons — poor time management, projects being re-routed or changed abruptly, miscommunication between team members, etc. — but with the right tools, you can automate and streamline your goal-tracking strategy to ensure everything stays on course with little friction. The ClearCompany Goal Tracking platform makes it easy to set, manage, and track goals so managers and individuals can monitor progress, get transparency into project and business goals, and make sure that personal goals align with greater team and company objectives. Structuring your goals from the top down is an effective way to ensure that your employees are seeing their own needs met, while serving the organization. By tracking all your goals in one place, your team will be able to manage and monitor their accomplishments in structured, strategic way.

Recognize and Reward

Employee recognition leads to increased engagement, productivity, and even creativity. Employees who feel recognized and acknowledged when they do good work are more likely to be motivated to perform, yet so many leaders still under-recognized their workers. Let your performance management tools track these successes and alert you so that you can show timely and adequate recognition to your workforce.

What happens after you set #EmployeeGoals? @ClearCompany shows you how to manage goals and increase productivity through transparency:

Recognition and rewards look different at every company. For some, the budget doesn’t allow for fancy trips or a monthly party. But that’s not what recognition has to be about. Rewarding your employees can encompass a number of things and change from company to company.

If you aren’t in a position to provide a monetary reward or special compensation for large projects, consider some creative way to show your employees you recognize their good work that’s fun, interactive, or provides added benefits to their daily work. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • If your office is business-professional, offer an opportunity to dress down.
  • Take an employee to lunch at a restaurant of their choice.
  • Give your hard-working employee the afternoon off, or a whole day.
  • Offer them some branded gear or even give them an option to select their own branded wear.
  • Just say thank you. Whether public or private, your employees appreciate hearing their work matters.
  • If your company has an intranet, Slack channel, or newsletter, give the employee a shout-out.
  • Give the employee a VIP parking spot for a month.
  • Write a personal, handwritten note.
  • Let the employee work from home for an extra day or the whole week.
  • Consider a standard plaque, trophy, or otherwise physical reward to post somewhere or let them keep at their desks.

Everyone Should be Accounted for

No employees should fall through the cracks. Each member of your team should have a designated role that makes a real impact on the company. Sometimes an office will have an employee whose role is a little difficult to explain. They show up every day, but they don’t have a designated supervisor, they have a poorly defined role or responsibilities, and no one is tracking their work, progress, or engagement.

The ability to identify and work with these employees is critical in order to get their production and engagement jump started. The proper talent management system will help guide that process, filling in any holes and ensuring there’s someone managing their development and growth.

Additionally, the lack of an explicit job description or assigned supervisor doesn’t just affect the employee at hand, it can leave their teammates frustrated and upset when there is no recourse or direction for one of their team members. If not properly addressed, resentment can breed in such conditions.

Instead, follow these steps to re-engage your lost employee:

  • Have a private session with the employee, and if applicable his or her manager.
  • Create a safe environment by saying your ultimate goal is to make the employee successful in the right role within the company.
  • Ask about non-performance related issues first. If they’ve been late or falling asleep at work, consider it may be outside of work problem and work with the employee to find a solution.
  • Ask questions to find out if the issue is one of the inadequate skills or unclear goals or career path.
  • If goals, start by setting clear expectations with KPIs if possible. Explain each and give an example of what that looks like in action. If you have a performance management system, use that to keep a record of these.
  • If skills, you may have to invest in more employee training in order to get your employees up to speed.
  • Get a commitment from the employee that they agree with and understand the expectations and set a recurring calendar meeting for check-ins.
  • Ask if there are any tools or issues preventing them from completing these goals.
  • Complete the performance meeting by letting them know you are rooting for them and believe they can meet the goals you’ve set together.

Better Time Management

Time management is not usually an innate skill. For many, it’s something they have to learn and practice. In addition, many entry-level employees are coming from college or grad school, where they’ve learned a very different kind of time management than the one the world of employment typically requires.

As a business leader, you need to help your employees learn to track their time better. Work is filled with hidden time-wasters: social media, water cooler conversation, disorganized workspace, extended breaks, multitasking and many more. While these are frustrating for managers and leaders, they can cause damage to your employees as well.

If an employee finishes every day with a full to-do list because of poor time management, they can quickly become frustrated and disengaged, feeling as though they’ve accomplished nothing. Help employees get to a feeling of achievement by encouraging them to:

  • Batch their email. Leaving an email inbox open may work if you’re in customer service or breaking news, but for the rest of us, it ensures we’ll be toggling back and forth, wasting valuable time.
  • Avoid social media on their computers and their phones. The easiest way to do this is to institute social media breaks. There are apps that can help you and your fellow employees to focus on the work they need to get done. The best way to encourage a healthy amount of social media use is to model the behavior you want to see, so put down that phone!
  • Encourage the talkers to keep their chats brief. If necessary, you can let a chatty office worker know they are actually keeping others from completing their work. If someone is constantly wandering over to a co-worker’s cubicle with coffee and chatting about their weekend for a half-hour every day, remind them that others may have different workloads or preferred working times.
  • Have a tidying up time at the end of each week. Wipe down desks, wrap up jumbled cords, clean up their desktop, re-install any plugins or install updates on the computer, shred old papers, and put necessary tools within reach. This will not only help your employees keep their physical and digital workspaces clean, organized, and reduce friction for productivity. As an added bonus, it will also help keep sickness from spreading through the office and give them a chance to stand up and stretch their legs a bit.
  • Find tools and think of ideas to help with distractions and share with your employees. For instance, some companies remove internal messaging tools because the constant notifications and non-stop communication can stress out employees. Instead, encourage your teams to designate times on their calendars to discuss projects, or train your staff on how to manage and organize notifications so they don’t become overwhelming or bothersome.
  • Invest in technology that allows you to track and report on employee time. Goal transparency allows leaders to create roadmaps and realistic timelines for each step of every process. By defining and tracking when each worker hits their goals, everyone can practice better time management.

Reviews That Actually Matter

Reviews are getting a pretty bad rap lately because a lot of companies are basing them off of some pretty ancient practices. Transparent goals create a work environment in which everyone knows exactly what is expected from them, why and when. This makes tailored reviews a reality. Employees aren’t just one of many in the review process, they are an individual with individual goals, successes, and issues. Custom reviews allow employers and employees to set better goals together.

Did you know that the right performance management system can help you improve productivity in all of these ways? We can help you reward, track, set goals, create effective reviews, manage your project timelines and identify the slackers. If you didn’t know that performance management software did all that and more, you’re not alone. Most people don’t know the possibilities of what the right software can do for their organization. See for yourself and click here for a demo.

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Meredith Wholley
Meredith Wholley
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As a Marketing and Event Manager, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events for ClearCompany. With her career in HR tech, Meredith works closely with HR practitioners and is passionate about providing them with the tools and information they need to succeed.

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