When it comes to aligning employee goals, there are three main approaches:
- The first is to not worry about it at all. The result is usually a team that is pulling in different directions.
- The second way is to align each employee's goals with their manager’s. This is the old-fashioned way of effecting goal alignment. With this people centric method, you start the goal setting process at the top, then work your way down through successive layers of the organization. While this approach can encourage a strong bond between employees and managers, it tends to disengage employees. Employees don't feel as much ownership for their goals, because they've been handed down from "on high", and they don't feel any accountability for the organization achieving its goals. This approach also takes a long time to complete, and tends to be fragile; the chain of goals is easily broken when someone leaves or is promoted.
- Today's best practice method for achieving goal alignment is the organization centric method. With this method you start at the top, setting the organization's highest level goals, then if needed, set high level goals for divisions in the organization. But from there, every employee, regardless of their level or function in the organization is asked to set personal goals that in some way contribute to the achievement of the organization's high level goals. Now everyone knows exactly how they are contributing to the organization's goals and are engaged and accountable for the organization's success.
Now ask yourself: Are managers in your organization effectively using goal management practices to foster better employee and organizational performance?
If you want to help managers do a better job of writing and managing goals, you might want to:
- Give managers and employees (since they should participate in writing their own goals) annual training on how to write effective goals. It's not an easy skill to master, and we easily forget how to do it well.
- Provide a sample of an effectively written goal on your appraisal form. This will help jog everyone's memory.
- Set up your appraisal form to include fields for a description, milestones, measures of success, due dates, etc. so none of these elements are forgotten.
- Regularly communicate the progress and status for high level organizational goals.
- Schedule quarterly reviews where managers and employees can review the status of goals and make any changes necessary to keep them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound).
Read how others have improved their managers’ skill at aligning and managing employee goals
Sun-Rype introduced a more rigorous approach to talent management that now ensures everyone plays a role in delivering on their strategic plan.
At AGF, they implemented a new talent management system to provide employees with a greater sense of where the organization is heading and how everyone contributes to helping the organization achieve its corporate goals.