Why is it so important that organizations set clear, well developed goals? Many of us see goal setting as a chore we must complete at the beginning of each appraisal cycle without really understanding the impact or importance of the process. If done correctly, goals can motivate employees, help align business processes and improve the overall performance of the company.
How can goals help to align employees and business units with the overall organizational business processes? There needs to be great visibility throughout the goals of the company. If realistic goals are set and there is a vast deal of information sharing during the goal creation process, goals throughout the organization will be consistent. Visibility into the organizational goals enables employees to align their own goals with those of the organization to ensure they are helping support and contribute to the future of the company. Furthermore, this can help clarify the roles of all employees in the company so they are clear in how their performance contributes to the overall success.
Not only is determining a realistic timeframe a key factor in monitoring a goal, but also determining how it will be achieved and how it will be measured. In some cases, a particular goal may require several objectives to be adequately monitored. Goals without objectives are essentially meaningless because progress is impossible to measure. It is this level of specificity sets goals and objectives apart.
One of the methods we employ in the Brilliant HR Talent Performance solution is that of using S.M.A.R.T. goals. These are meant to guide both managers and employees through a successful goal setting process. Each letter stands for an attribute every goal should have to be a clear and reachable goal:
- Specific – simple, sensible, significant
- Measurable – meaningful, motivating
- Achievable – agreed, attainable
- Relevant – reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based
- Time-bound – time-based, time limited, timely, time-sensitive
The bottom line is that goal setting is not just an annual exercise all employees need to go through so they can check off the box in their list of tasks to complete. Goals are critical to the success of a company and when the proper attention and priority are given to the creation of realistic goals, the outcome realized will definitely be well worth the effort invested up-front.