This article on employee goal setting and alignment was originally published in February of 2014. All relevant copy and statistics have been updated as of February 2021.
As pioneers of the Talent Management Platform, our team at ClearCompany has benefited greatly from using our own software to align our individual goals to the goals of the company as a whole. We make strides to stay in step with the company vision and ensure that our day-to-day work contributes to the overall strategy. Still, alignment means little without well-defined and well-understood goals.
When organizations tackle employee goal setting and alignment, people often struggle to understand how downstream goals play into a company’s overall vision. Creating a process for setting and aligning individual, departmental, and organizational goals will help your team stay on track and informed. We’ve identified three steps you and your employees can take to set smart, strategic goals.
1. Be Transparent In Your Reflections and Plans
Start your goal-setting meetings with each Department Head sharing their vision and goals for the coming year. When discussing past performance and future goals, remember that complete transparency helps everyone. Research shows that only 47% of employees believe they have a clear and accurate idea of the goals of their organization. As you build out plans for the next month, quarter, or year, ensure that everyone has access to the latest information. Offer employees from every level and department the chance to voice their concerns and ask questions for further clarification. This will help ensure everyone understands the plan for the future and the steps and expectations necessary to reach your goals.
Bonus Material: Need some help setting up performance goals for 2021? ClearCompany can help! Check out 3 powerful performance goals you need to consider for the next year.
2. Align Your Strategies with Management
Employees are continually setting individual goals at their organizations, but how often are they encouraged to take ownership of your process? When your employees take charge of their goal-setting, it empowers them and provides them with a more strategic function. Additionally, when employees set their own goals, they often set more challenging goals. The trouble lies in ensuring that individual and departmental goals align with management and upper-level executives’ overall strategy and goals. To keep your goals aligned across all levels, start by:
- Brainstorming individual goals — What do you hope to accomplish within your role in the next few months? How do you plan to achieve this?
- Meeting with direct reports — Meet with your manager or direct reports to discuss their plans for the future. What goals have they outlined for themselves? How can you help them to achieve these goals? Do these goals fit into the overall company vision?
- Identifying how goals play into the larger picture — How do your individual goals play into the larger goals of the company? In what way does achieving these goals directly impact the success or productivity of your department or business?
- Writing your goals down — Did you know that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down?
94% of organizations use workplace goals to evaluate the level of performance of employees. It is essential to review goals with your team and managers to help clarify expectations and responsibilities. Plus, with transparency in your goal-setting process, coworkers can help hold one another accountable in achieving their goals. When employees work together to identify how they will help each other succeed, you’ll find a more engaged workforce with stronger professional relationships.
Tip: 360 Degree feedback can help you and your employees to set well-defined and challenging goals. Check out how you can implement this form of feedback process within your organization.
3. Dictate How You Will Measure Success
Great goals are ones that are measurable and trackable. At every stage of the process, you and your coworkers should be able to identify the progress of your goals and whether it is delivering the intended outcome. With a robust performance management system, leaders can get everyone on the same page with convenient and mobile-friendly goal tracking and alignment tools. Implementing tracking software into your organization also helps to hold employees accountable for the expectations that were set in place. Ensure all members of your organization are clear on how to track the results of their work to eliminate any potential disruptions.
Bonus Material: Transform productivity in your organization through proper employee goal-setting strategies.
Goal setting offers employees the chance to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities. Offering them the space to challenge themselves and dictate their expectations will provide you with a more productive and engaged workforce. Once your employees have determined what they hope to achieve in the coming months, take the time to work together as a team, department, or organization to identify how each individual plays into the overall success of your team. When companies ensure their individual, departmental, and organizational goals are aligned, they can identify any potential gaps in their strategy before issues arise. ClearCompany has a proven history of success with helping organizations in their goal-setting strategies. To learn more about our goal setting and tracking capabilities, reach out to one of our experts or sign up for your free demo today.
As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent thousands of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.