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June 6, 2013

The Business Driven Goal

Filed under: Performance Pro11:46 am

Recently, I was working with a client whose managers were struggling to create and administer their employees’ goals. With over 2,000 employees, the HR team was finding it a challenge to analyze their data and pinpoint what the major issues were.  We pulled a sampling of objectives and pretty quickly a pattern began to emerge.  Over and over we saw short, vague goals that had little (or nothing) to do with their company.  “Drink more water” and “Read four books this year” were some of my favorites.  Of the goals that were business related, very few of them were business driven – i.e., goals that supported the overall health, direction, and strategy of the organization.

Business driven goals essentially connect top organizational strategies directly to their employees’ performance and pay.
Doing so creates a powerful line-of-sight understanding for staff, fosters a greater understanding of company direction and priorities, and provides senior management with feedback on their businesses progress.   Nobody would argue that these things are important for organizational success. However, most companies have no tools in place to do just that.

Ultimately we found that employees and managers want to be working towards the right thing, but they often don’t know what the right thing is!  The good news—teaching your managers how to work with business driven goals can solve this problem.  Here are some steps HR can take to get their managers and employees to start working more strategically:

  1. Provide an effective tool that broadly communicates company objectives.  Best practice would be to disseminate these in your performance appraisal system but it could be a form that lists and explains all strategies.
  2. Tie employee goals to those objectives.  Throw out non-business driven goals and link all employee goals to a company strategy.
  3. Talk to each employee about how their individual goals move the company towards success.  This fosters employee trust and understanding on how their performance impacts the organization.
  4. Provide reporting and metrics on success of the company objectives based on the performance of employees.  Providing this information to management will help them determine what is working and what needs more attention which will…
  5. Ultimately improve overall organizational performance!

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