What Is Goal Management?
Effective goal management tracks measurable actions that lead to the desired end result of achieving the organizational mission and vision. The goal management plan should include individual, department/division, and company-level goals. Goal management helps organizations communicate their strategies and business objectives effectively to all managers, departments, and individuals within the organization
Goal management is essential for aligning the organization. Allison Walsh writes for Harvard Business Review, “Achieving goals becomes easier when they’re connected to a reason and purpose.” By involving all employees, they feel empowered, as they understand that their individual contributions contribute to the company’s success. Strategic goal management promotes transparency, boosts employee engagement, and adapts to the evolving needs of the business.
What Is The Difference Between Goals and Objectives?
Goals are broad, long-term accomplishments aligned to the company mission and vision. Objectives are meaningful, measurable actions that are taken to help accomplish the broader goal. While goals are more static, objectives are adjusted as the business needs change.
Some organizations may use more general objectives for the purpose of standardization across the organization, but the majority will create objectives that are specific to the individual employee. While objectives can be utilized exclusive from goal creation, it is best practice and most effective to determine individual objectives based on goals. The Marketing department example below shows how goals and objectives differ in practice but can and should be developed together.
Goal Title: Increase Online Presence
Goal Definition: Create 3 new blog posts per month over the next 12 months
Objective Title: Improve Search Rank Across Top 10 Keywords
- Remain informed of competitor keywords and phrases for SEO optimization
- Actively seek out conversations with Sales and Customer Success teams to ensure all content is relevant to the current needs and wants of our clients
- Peruse popular media outlets for trending topics consistently
The key drivers behind goal accomplishment are motivation and contribution. Employees are motivated to achieve challenging, yet attainable goals when it is evident that their efforts affect the organization at large. Objectives are the tool for measuring those efforts.
Why Is Goal Setting Important To Success?
Creating goals can be overwhelming without a well-established framework. To ensure that goal management is not just a task to be checked off, it is essential to consistently and effectively communicate the purpose of goal setting. The following points highlight why goal management is crucial for cultivating high-performing cultures.
Sense of Belonging
It can be easy for employees to feel as though they are just another cog in the wheel if they are not continually reminded why their job matters. Strong goal management practices are driven by the organization’s mission and vision and therefore give all employees a common purpose. Goal management ensures all team members are heading in the same direction which alleviates the negative effects of working in silos and boosts individual productivity.
Without continual goal conversations, it can be difficult to know how well the business is performing. Goal management allows for checkpoints along the way to assess what’s working and what isn’t. Transparent goal metrics give clear visibility into what actions need to continue, be adjusted, or be stopped altogether. Goal management pulls back the curtain and helps to eliminate performance blindspots.
When every employee is responsible for achieving goals, they are motivated to take ownership of their performance. By setting goals and being evaluated on goal attainment, individuals are held accountable for their commitments. This also puts the onus on managers and top leaders to fulfill their responsibility of providing the necessary resources and coaching when needed, ensuring everyone’s success.
How To Create Effective Goals
The following bullet points detail every component that should be considered when creating and tracking goals:
- Person responsible– Perhaps the most important component, the single individual who will be held accountable for the completion of the goal must be determined.
- Contributors– While not solely responsible, contributors have influence over the accomplishment of the goal and should therefore be included so they are also held accountable.
- SMART goals– Consider implementing the SMART framework when developing goals for a tried and true plan of success: Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound.
- Due date– A hard deadline is required for responsible goal management.
- Goal title and definition– The title of the goal should be clear and state the exact desired end result. The definition of the goal should be a supporting statement that provides additional detail for how the goal is to be completed.
- Measurement– What will determine if the goal is completed or not? If possible, use specific numbers and quantities to avoid confusion.
- Notes and additional information– While the goal title and definition should suffice, sometimes including more detailed notes, graphs, reports, or other relevant attachments helps further define what is expected.
Goal Management Best Practices
- Implement cascading goals– Cascading goals show the connection between an individual, department/division, and company-level goal as opposed to a standalone goal. This approach clearly indicates how an employee’s accomplishment of an individual goal directly impacts overarching business goals . This format ensures all goals are aligned to the greater mission and helps employees visually see that their work causes a ripple effect. Executives also gain insight into any adjustments that need to be made.
- Implement a goal-tracking tool- Using traditional paper-based methods to manage the goals of an entire organization can quickly become a chaotic and ineffective process, leading to the loss of valuable information. With WorkDove’s goal management software, organizations can significantly reduce human error and enhance transparency for all stakeholders involved. This digital solution streamlines the goal management process, making it more efficient and ensuring that no crucial information slips through the cracks.
- Integrate goals with check-ins/one-on-one meetings- For organizations that have implemented check-ins as a part of their performance management process, integrating goals into one-on-one conversations keeps goal tracking a top priority. This ensures that goals are reviewed on a consistent basis. Managers stay up-to-date on goal tracking and employees are given continuous performance feedback.
- Integrate goals into performance reviews– Including goal metrics in performance reviews enhances the objectivity of evaluations and provides valuable insights. By incorporating goals into the performance appraisal process, employees are further motivated to achieve their targets.
- Utilize reports- Comprehensive reports provide HR leaders with deeper knowledge into the progress of goals across the entire organization, as well as across specific work group segments. Without the ability to generate reports, leaders cannot efficiently track goal attainment and progress.
- Employee-led- While managers have the final say in goal creation, employees should be invited to take an active role in goal implementation. Asking employees for their input, or even allowing them to fully create their own goals, gives them the opportunity to take charge of their own professional growth.
Cascading Goal Examples
We have provided a few examples of cascading goals for specific departments. The following format includes company, department, and individual-level goals but keep in mind that the verbiage of goal levels may be different for each organization (company vs. organization, etc.).
1a. Company-level goal- Build Brand Awareness
1b. Department-level goal- Execute New Partnership With 4 Industry Leaders
1c. Individual-level goal- Execute 2 Joint Webinars With Other Industry Leaders
- Human Resources
2a. Company-level goal- Retain and Grow Talent
2b. Department-level goal- Retain 90% of Employees Year-over-year
2c. Individual-level goal- Complete 100% of Manager/Employee Check-ins On Time
3a. Company-leve goal – Increase Revenue From New Product Categories
3b. Department-level goal – 20% of New Sales Are From New Product Category
3c. Individual-level goal – 20% of All Closed Deals Include A New Product Offering
Best-In-Class Goal Management
Every team member is positively impacted when well-planned, strategic goal management is in place. The vision is crystal clear, leaders are held accountable, and employees are empowered knowing how their contributions contribute to the company’s mission. Goal management should be flexible enough to fit the company culture but structured enough so that performance expectations are understood.
The WorkDove Goal Management tool integrates cascading or simple goals into performance management for better alignment and accountability. WorkDove’s platform can be configured to your organization, and integrates goals into performance check-ins and reviews to update progress. This aligns the organization and faciliates employee and manager feedback in pursuit of achieving the organization’s vision. Improve focus and engagement with effective goal management today!