Generally, all people have individual personal goals and these goals may transfer over to the workplace as employment goals. For example, the personal goals of financial stability and personal development may translate over to the employment goal of gaining a promotion. Business owners not only set and strive for their own personal and employment goals but also the goals of the organization. For the organization to reach these goals, the dedication of the entire team of employees is required and not just the efforts of the business owner.
As a first step, employers can check in with their employees to get their input. This is partly addressed in our blog article Employee Interaction in a Virtual Business. While checking in with team members, a colleague mentioned that she was much happier working for a smaller company, instead of a large organization.
“Why is that?” I asked.
She indicated that while in a large organization, she didn’t feel like her work had any impact on the goals of the organization. She felt like a number with no direction of the organizational goals or where the impact of her work fit in. When joining the smaller company, from the day she started she was fully aware of the impact of her efforts and her suggestions were now heard by the decision-makers. She now felt involved in the goal planning process, had an idea of what the company goals were and where she fits in.
So how do business owners keep their teams excited to achieve the organization’s common goals?
1.) By setting clear organizational goals using an established methodology. On Jell.com, Mary Green’s article digs into multiple methodologies for this including SMART goals, Objectives and Key Results, Backwards Goals, etc. What methodology would work for your organization?
2.) Providing adequate communication on what these goals are with employees and setting a mutually agreeable action plan so that everyone is in on the team effort.
3.) Creating alignment between the organization’s goals and the work delivered by employees, by allowing employees to provide input into their own goals relating to the alignment. This does not mean tell them what the business goals are and say “Now set your goals to meet this.” This is more of a training, mentorship and guiding process taking into account the thoughts, ideas and input of the employee. They may think of something you had not when creating the organizational goals in the first place. Keep your ears and mind open.
4.) Watch out for obstacles in the way of your employee’s success in achieving these goals and do what you can to remove those obstacles.
5.) Encourage openness amongst the employees concerning the meeting of goals, by being open with them in the goals you are meeting in your part of the big picture goals established. This is a time to set a great example for all as the leader.
6.) Make the goal measurable for the employee to track against allowing a sense of ownership of their part of the solution. This is an exercise in communication to all employees in general, letting employees know periodically where the organization is meeting those goals and thanking them for their contributions while allowing them to decide how they are going to get through their portion of the work. Just remember to be open to providing guidance when they struggle, still allowing them to maintain ownership.
7.) Ensure there is follow up on an employee or one-on-one level if possible, to recognize their contributions in a way that makes sense for your business.
8.) Once the goals have been set at all levels, make sure this is communicated and repeated for anyone new coming into the organization. For those leaving the organization make sure their part impacting these goals is covered by someone else to maintain continuity.
These activities create openness with your employees may allow for a more engaged team directly impacting your business results from the perspective of productivity, customer interaction and overall morale.
Your team can be like a family and striving towards a common goal can bring everyone together, as long as all feel in control and appreciated.
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