Goal management is about more than just the annual assigning of goals and reviewing of employee performance. It's about getting every employee to use and develop their talents, skills and experience to help the organization meet its overarching goals.
While effective goal management is especially critical in larger organizations, it can also have a dramatic impact in smaller ones.
Goal alignment is key to goal management
Goal alignment plays a key role in effective goal management. Every employee's role and every employee goal should be tied to the organization's overall strategy, not just to their manager's success. That way you can rationalize conflicting priorities, based on a higher level common goal. Without alignment, everyone is managing their own personal goals in a discrete way. While an individual may be successful in meeting all their personal goals, their work may not in fact contribute to the success of the organization overall; it might even work against it. Goal alignment helps to ensure that everyone's individual contributions move the organization forward in the right direction.
Make goal management systemic
For goal management to be successful, it needs to be ingrained in your corporate culture so it keeps everyone's focus on the success of the overall organization, and helps everyone to see themselves as part of a larger team. With systemic goal management, the whole team succeeds or fails; no individual division or department can succeed at the expense of another.
You can do this by:
- Making the larger organizational goals visible to everyone
- Encouraging employees from across the organization to link their individual goals to higher-level organizational goals
- Regularly monitoring and communicating goal status at all levels of the organization.
This gives everyone a "line of sight" view of progress on linked goals, so everyone can see how they're contributing and the effect of their efforts, so they can celebrate milestones and successes.
Goal management should be ongoing
Effective goal management is ongoing. It requires a regular continuous dialogue between managers and employees that includes: feedback and coaching, prioritizing, and employee development and career planning. This ongoing dialogue helps to ensure that individual and organizational performance stay on track, and allows everyone to adjust their goals as needed to keep pace with evolving business and market requirements.
Recent research by Bersin by Deloitte has shown that organizations that regularly review, update and adjust goals are better at cost control and have better financial performance than their counterparts who treat goal setting as a once a year event.
Communication is key to accountability
Employees know that their managers are one of the keys to their success. As a result, they tend to work on the things their managers care about. So if you want your employees to feel accountable for achieving their goals and the organization's goals, you need to communicate the importance of goals. Your leaders and managers need to regularly check on their employees' progress on goals. They also need to regularly communicate goal status, up and down the reporting chain. These regular checks and communication demonstrate the importance and value of goals and keep everyone aligned and accountable for their performance.
Read how others have harnessed their talent through effective goal management
The Zoological Society of San Diego refined its corporate culture by introducing a new strategic plan. They then gave their managers the tools they needed to effectively manage employee performance and challenged them to each choose three individual goals that were directly tied to overall organizational goals. In this way, they achieved organizational goal alignment and ensured that ongoing feedback and reviews became the norm for employees.
Learn how the vibrant City of Keene in New Hampshire revamped their performance appraisal process so they could align the departmental and individual objectives with the overall goals and objectives of the City to make sure everyone was focused on the key things the City wanted to accomplish.