Eyes on the prize: Keeping employees on board with company goals

Keeping employees on board

Your company has formed some concrete annual goals, and now you’re tasked with motivating employees.

Challenging? Maybe. In research cited in Harvard Business Review, only 29 percent of employees were able to identify their company’s key strategies. Creating a clear sense of purpose among your staffers might involve a mix of proven methods, common sense and firsthand knowledge of what makes them tick.

Your best bet is to engage the group as a whole, according to more research showing better productivity when workers aim toward a specific team goal rather than individual goals. Also worth noting is that workers are more satisfied and contribute more if they perceive individual and team goals as complementary.

Spur your employees to success with some of these methods:

– Supplement your dry, monetary and potentially boring goals with broader ideals that seem somewhat exciting even to entry-level workers. For example, engage them in a discussion about your company’s market share and your plans to knock certain competitors out of the market.
– Explain your reasoning. Employees appreciate knowing what their daily work means to the big picture and how it ultimately affects customers. You get bonus points for linking your goals with your firm’s core values and overall mission.
– Ask employees to write out their own goals explaining how they plan to contribute. Those should generally align with departmental goals but still allow for creativity. Are their targets realistic and challenging enough? What will they need to achieve them? Can they be divided into separate milestones? Might there be roadblocks? Tie the goals into performance evaluations. “Asking organization members to improve, to work harder or to do (their) best is not helpful, because that kind of goal does not give them a focused target,” reports the Lunenburg research. “The key to successful goal setting is to build and reinforce employees’ self-efficacy.”
– Setting deadlines increases motivation, research supports. “If plenty of time remains for attaining the goal, the employee is likely to slow his or her pace to fill the available time,” states Lunenburg.
– Asking a worker to learn something as part of his goals has a positive impact on work-related behavior and performance, Lunenburg shows, as it allows him to master challenging situations.
– Combining organizational goals with monetary rewards often backfires when team members try to establish easy goals, according to Lunenburg.
– Remember to provide regular feedback, keeping employees apprised of company and individual goals and allowing them time to improve performance. Appreciation by management and authenticity of leadership are crucial elements.

“[Creating] motivation and engagement is truly a 50-50 relationship between the employee and employer,” confirms a report by the Society for Human Resource Management. “Employees are expected to come to the workplace with the motivation and desire to be successful, be value-added and contribute to the obtainment of an employer’s vision. Conversely, it’s incumbent upon the employer to provide resources, opportunities, recognition and a cohesive work environment for employees to be successful.”