A company that can serve the goals of its employees while still achieving organization-wide goals is a company that will be more productive year-round. It is the job of any good manager to help employees meet their own goals and understand the overall visions of the company. Likewise, employees who feel that they are working towards their own development while they support the business have more job satisfaction and greater at-work motivation.
One of the best things a manager can do to nurture and retain talent is to help each employee develop personally and achieve private goals. Otherwise, employees who do not understand their role in the company’s success may become disinterested and complacent about their jobs and their teams. Employers seeking to increase overall productivity and employee satisfaction while reducing turnover can benefit from incorporating these five goal-setting methods in the workplace.
1. Relate company goals back to the employees.
To be truly engaged in their work, employees need to understand what they contribute to the company goals. They should understand that they make a difference, and have a sense of how each specific company objective relates back to their day-to-day work, in both the short-term and long-term.
Team members who can shrug off the company’s initiatives in the belief that it does not apply to them have a reduced investment in the organization’s performance. To prevent this, the business’s goals must be clear, actionable and understood by even the most junior members of the team. It also means that goals should be shared between departments. No individual employee or group should work in a silo, or feel as if they are disconnected from the organization as a whole.
2. Provide personal development opportunities.
Whether it be new job responsibilities, leadership training or additional skill-building opportunities, the business should offer employees new resources and ways to achieve their personal goals. These opportunities should go beyond formal training, and can include things like:
- Book clubs for employees to research and discuss industry trends.
- Lunch-and-learns once a month for employees to teach each other skills.
- One-on-ones with management to discuss personal development.
- “Growth time” that allows employees to spend 10 percent of their time pursuing personal goals.
These development opportunities do not have to be one-size-fits-all. Instead, you can allow your employees to alter each method to their own needs. For example, offering growth time allows every employee to work on personal development, while a book club can be adapted for any department or skill set.
Development opportunities can also be made part of an employee’s daily work responsibilities. For example, a staff member who is interested in teaching may be given chances to train junior employees in the same department, even if teaching is not a part of his or her regular work schedule.
3. Allow employees to set their own goals in the organization.
Within the framework of the company, it’s important to allow employees to determine their own personal objectives. These goals should not simply be increasing the number of hours worked, but challenging and rewarding personal endeavors that benefit both the business and the staff.
However, management should also take part in the development of these goals. Employees should feel comfortable sharing their personal visions, and supported by management. Furthermore, an employee’s personal goals should be relevant to the business in some way, including skill development or career progression. These goals should also be:
- Whatever development an employee desires should be something that it is possible to do and something that the company is capable of supporting.
- Vague plans are harder for employees to envision and achieve. Like company-wide objectives, personal achievement should be specific and easy to understand.
- Even personal goals should be measurable, or they may be too subjective to actually attain. If an employee would like to become a better coder, the manager and employee may think of multiple ways to make that personal development vision more specific and thus something the team member can measure.
4. Ask employees what their goals are, and create actionable plans.
The most important way to combine company-wide goals with personal development is to ask each employee what they want to achieve. Managers who wish to keep an engaged team should understand what motivates each team member, and take their interests seriously. This means listening to what employees would like to attain in their careers with the company. It also means helping uncertain employees define clearer visions of their own goals and craft a specific plan of action.
When personal development shifts from a hope or vision to a step-by-step list of achievements, employees have an attainable way to work on their personal goals. However, managers should not create these plans alone, nor should employees. Employees and managers must create the goal plan together in order to give employees a sense of ownership over their own achievements, while still feeling supported by the organization.
5. Train managers to be mentors.
Actionable plans, specific goals and performance reviews are all important when it comes to supporting employees and their personal success within the company. However, strong leadership is the key to creating the right environment for this growth to take place. Employees need to feel motivated to serve the company, and supported by the company in turn. Therefore, managers who wish to combine team satisfaction with company values should learn to become mentors.
Training all upper-level staff in mentorship as well as leadership will create a management team that is dedicated to overall employee development. Strong leadership can also help employees learn from one another, and work towards the same goals while supporting one another. The senior levels of a company are not the only ones that can affect culture and encourage employees, but is important to have leaders who lead by example.