7 best practices while setting business goals for employees

It is imperative for organisations to set goals for its employees that are aligned with the overall business objective. Setting realistic goals for individual employees gives them a sense of direction and purpose, and helps improve productivity levels.

7 best practices while setting business goals for employees

Wednesday December 23, 2020,

6 min Read

Businesses with goals succeed because they know their destination clearly. Companies should focus on providing a similar vision to their employees too to keep a step forward together. Today, the goals that are set at the beginning of the quarter are no longer relevant and the goals are revised to help businesses grow in this pandemic situation.

Employees contribute in large part in converting the revised goals into action. Therefore, the goals have to be transparent organisation-wide and the management should take steps to remind the employees of the goals and the measures to be taken to reach there.  

Here are seven best practices to succeed in setting business goals for employees. 

1. Align individual goals with overall business objective 

What will happen if employees think and act differently than the organisation? It would be highly difficult for the business to sustain, let alone thrive. Therefore, it is necessary to align the goals of every individual in an organisation with the overall business objective, be it in the long run or for a quarter.

This allows an employee to see his/her contribution to the company, which helps to increase the morale of the entire workforce. Satisfied and happy employees always become high performers and increase the productivity and profitability of the company. 

Conducting frequent meetings to talk about the company’s objective will also help the employees to stay on the right track. At Synergita, we conduct meetings every quarter to remind the workforce of the company’s overall objective and set new goals for the quarter to take a step forward together as an organisation toward the objective. By doing this, the employees will be clear of the path ahead and the significance of their contribution to the company. 

2. Take employees’ inputs in setting goals 

A Gallup report reveals that companies that have higher employee engagement levels are 22% more profitable than the companies that do not actively engage their employees. One of the ways to engage the employees is to take their opinions in setting the goals for them.

The employees, when they feel cherished because the management takes their inputs in goal setting, become more engaged and feel responsible for their individual goals. Research also proves that the workforce performs 3x times better when they know that their voices are heard by the company.  

Besides that, employees are the frontline soldiers who frequently interact with the customers. The employees know the demands of the customers much better than the superiors and also, they know the market conditions well. Taking their suggestions into consideration would do more good to the company than to the employees. It is even better if the goals are set by the employees and reviewed by the managers to check whether it is relevant and aligned. 

3. Set attainable and challenging performance goals  

When the goals are easily attainable, the learning of the workforce stops and they would eventually lose interest in the work as there is nothing exciting to stir their minds. And if the goals are too challenging, the employees would not be able to attain and they would develop a lethargic attitude toward the goal-setting process. In addition to that, they would also become defensive when questioned about their goals and the blame game would start. Therefore, there has to be a balanced approach.  

The employees should be able to attain 75% of their goals. Managers should not reprimand the teams for not attaining the rest 25%; instead, they should laud the efforts of the team members in reaching the 0.7 measure on a scale of zero to one. The challenges in reaching a target can help an employee gain a great deal of knowledge about the process and also keep him/her engaged. 

4. Hold your team accountable for their goals 

The first and foremost rule to enhance employee experience at your organisation: Do not micromanage. Give them freedom and autonomy. A study reveals that companies that provide more freedom to the employees at work notice higher productivity and increased job satisfaction rates.

And when employees are held responsible for their goals, they stay motivated and work harder to achieve the targets within the stipulated time. Providing autonomy fuels innovation as the employees can formulate and leverage different ways of doing things or unique strategies to attain business objectives. 

5. Consider employee’s career aspirations while setting goals 

Managers should consider an employee’s career aspirations while setting goals. For instance, there is a graphic designer and a content writer in your team. You cannot set goals for them as increase the sales 10x times. Instead, you can give them a goal to create and design two ebooks, which they have never done before and also aspire to learn.

The goal can be to create interactive design and content to increase the download of the resource by 2x times. Managers should consider the team members’ development plans while setting goals and help them in achieving them.  

6. OKR gives strength and direction 

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a powerful goal-setting framework that helps an organisation to measure its progress toward the objective. The key results should be numerically defined, and each key result should be allocated to one individual to hold them accountable. If the key results are not assigned, no one will be ready to take responsibility.

These OKRs help to tie the goals of every team to the business objective, and therefore, every employee will be able to measure his/her contribution to the organisation. Objectives and Key Results, if set and executed properly, can make your organisation sustain and thrive even in this difficult situation. The employees can also be engaged by using OKRs. 

7. Include goal setting in the performance management system 

A performance management system should be linked to the goal-setting process to set clear expectations and make employees aware of the performance criteria for evaluation.

When goals are linked to the performance, employees would try their best to achieve the expected results to get a better score in performance evaluation.

In addition to that, if the organisation puts in the effort to engage and manage the employee performance through an effective performance management system, then the employees will stay loyal to the company and work better to produce great outcomes. 

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)