Align Your Employees with Company Goals and Skyrocket Performance in 14 Effective Steps
Setting corporate goals is pretty straightforward, but achieving them is always an uphill battle for most organizations. In fact, only 5% of small businesses achieved all their goals in 2020.
There are certainly many reasons for this low percentage, but employee misalignment is often among the culprits.
When there's no buy-in from employees or goals are not communicated clearly, it becomes hard to drive employees toward fulfilling organizational goals.
The solution: align employee goals with the organization's goals.
But be aware that employees want to advance their careers. Provide opportunities to learn new skills and grow in their roles, and they'll be more inclined toward your organization and helping achieve its goals.
Here's how to align organizational goals with employee goals.
🎯 What is organizational alignment?
Organizational alignment is the unity between your company's goals and how all members work together to achieve business objectives.
To understand organizational alignment, imagine your company is a system.
For a system to function efficiently, the components must work together smoothly.
Similarly, each team within your company must sync to run your company efficiently.
Organizational alignment ensures success at every level, encouraging a positive work culture and higher retention rates. Plus, employees who understand and share company goals feel more integrated into the company.
Misalignment begins with having the right person in the wrong role.
- untapped talent potential;
- dissatisfaction and disengagement;
- decreases in employee productivity;
- potential burnout;
- high attrition.
👨💼 What role do HR and People Ops play?
- Hire people who are passionate about organizational goals and align with organizational values.
- Develop the right initiatives and programs to align employees with company goals while ensuring individual development.
- Ensure proper onboarding and training to improve performance and productivity.
👀 4 Reasons why it's crucial to align your company, team, and employee goals
Goals set the tone for your organizational strategy.
When employees, teams, and organizational goals align, clarity sets in.
Each team understands company goals and knows its roles in achieving them. Plus, they understand why several levels exist within the organization and how they fit in.
With this clarity, an employee takes pride in their work, and teams become motivated because they know what they're doing and why they're doing them.
A Twitter user asked, "People stay working at Microsoft for like 15 - 30 years. What's going on over there?"
One of the respondents highlighted that, for Microsoft employees, "it's easy to see the impact your contributions make in the real world."
In a misaligned organization, employees have questions and complaints about almost everything.
Why are we using a flat structure?
It's the hierarchy. It takes too many layers to get things done.
When things go wrong, employees will point fingers at leadership. That's because they don't understand "why." So there is no clarity, no alignment, no job satisfaction.
Improved employee engagement
Employees are likely to become engaged when they know the organization cares about their personal goals and development and how it impacts the company. Employees want to know you have their interests in mind from day one on the job. Aligning organizational goals and team goals with employee goals helps you achieve that.
Better team cohesion
The highest-performing teams collaborate and communicate effectively. When employees understand the purpose of a project, know what's in it for them, and are effectively trained, they become highly productive and ultimately contribute to team success.
Team development training can foster engagement and cooperation, leading to a much more cohesive and strong team.
Enabling a high-performance culture
According to Gartner, employee performance increases by 22% when individual goals align with organizational and employee needs.
People give 100% of their creativity, focus, and motivation when they understand why their work matters – when they can connect their day-to-day activities to the organization's purpose.
Plus, when the entire organization understands the purpose and values and consistently practices them, it becomes easier to achieve goals, and in turn, performance is high.
➡️ Discover 16 proven methods to improve employee performance.
🪜 14 Steps to ensure employees align with organizational goals
Set top company priorities
It's no easy task to set goals with employees at the center. When poorly done, employees can be all over the place, struggling to achieve goals.
Tip #1: Start by setting 3-5 essential goals based on the company vision and growth stage.
For instance, if you're a startup, that could mean more striving for brand awareness and customer acquisition programs.
Tip #2: Top management should develop a strategy based on the company's vision. But make priority setting a collaborative effort. Employees will get invested in your organizational goals when they're part of them from the start.
Tip #3: Some ways of allowing employees to have a say in setting organizational goals are:
- employee surveys;
- focus groups;
- one-on-one conversations with leaders.
Tip #4: Break top goals down into divisions and departments, so managers of each team can set their goals for employees based on the vision.
- The executive board sets the goals with the division managers.
- The division managers set goals with department heads.
- The department heads set goals with group leaders.
- And group leaders with employees.
Tip #5: Before defining a goal, it's essential to consider "the why." Any goal will be challenging to achieve if "the why" is unclear.
For instance, if the board says, "our goal for next year is to increase 30%, clearly define the "why." Why is it 30% and not 50%?
Tip #6: Describe the goals in detail and ensure everyone is on board.
💡 Get inspired with our additional resource on SMART goals for employees with 35 examples for different departments.
Evaluate your organization's culture
Does your work culture foster unity between everyone?
Is collaboration a thing, or do employees compete instead?
How's the communication style?
Your internal communication is critical in ensuring that employees and teams understand the company objectives, strategy, and responsibilities.
To develop a company culture that supports alignment, incorporate values assessment into development conversations and performance appraisals.
For example, reward employees and leaders who understand and align with the company's values, as Zappos does.
Here are some questions to assess your communication culture:
- How transparent is your organization about its goals, strategies, and challenges?
- How do employees communicate with each other and with leadership?
- Are employees comfortable discussing their issues and challenges with your leadership?
- Are there regular opportunities for employees to share ideas?
- Are there clear lines of communication and channels for seeking help or support when needed?
- Do messages sent to team members correlate with those shared publicly?
- How are changes in company policies or practices communicated to employees?
Tip: Adopt a knowledge-sharing culture where employees learn from each other, and team experts receive a chance to shine.
Get buy-in from leadership
Leaders set the tone for the entire organization.
So, leadership buy-in helps establish credibility and legitimacy for your organizational goals.
When your leaders fully commit and visibly support specific organizational goals, it sends a clear signal to your employees.
As a result, they are more likely to trust that they are important and worth striving towards.
Plus, leadership buy-in helps prioritize and allocate resources toward achieving specific goals. This can also mean investing in specific development programs for employees.
So you cannot skip getting your leaders on board with your people processes.
For example, if your goal is to enroll employees in training, list why it is essential and how it contributes to organizational goals.
Communicate your mission and vision
Each organization moves at the speed of trust. So, if leaders don't exhibit values included in the vision and mission statement, employees can lose trust in them.
A lack of confidence in leadership will lead to disengagement and poor performance.
And if your people do not trust your organization, it will be hard to stand out in your industry.
Your leaders must convey an authentic message that moves the employee to buy into the organization's vision. They should also create opportunities to connect more deeply with their employees.
Tip #1: Make your vision statement visible so everyone can see and run with it. Share it consistently and frequently.
Tip #2: Do not forget to share your company vision during your new hire onboarding process. You can do it through meetings or a company-wide event.
Tip #3: Ask employees to reflect on how their work relates to the company vision during your performance appraisal process.
Tip #4: Hire people who believe in your "why" and inspire them. Great companies hire motivated people and engage them from the get-go.
Tip #5: Use storytelling and examples to bring the mission and vision to life and make it more relatable for employees.
For example, you could share stories of how the company has positively impacted customers or the community.
Another idea would be to share examples of how employees have embodied the company's values in their work.
Choose motivational strategies
Employees sometimes feel that goals are unattainable and too vague. Hence, it's vital to encourage and motivate them to achieve success toward organizational and developmental goals.
To achieve this:
- Create a collaborative environment where employees can share their input and feel part of the organization. Employees perform their best work when they feel valued.
- Lead by example and encourage personal development.
- Recognize employee contributions and encourage them to constantly reflect on how their contributions relate to the bigger picture.
Ensure role clarity
Every employee should know:
- What their role is in the company.
- The tasks they need to accomplish.
- How their role and work impacts the organization.
- What is expected of them in order to align with organizational goals.
Tip: Define roles from the preboarding and onboarding stages. Role clarity will boost your new hire's engagement and time-to-productivity.
To ensure role clarity:
- Provide unambiguous role descriptions that include responsibilities and expectations.
- Create role cards that detail what skills are needed to achieve specified tasks and grow in the company.
- Communicate regularly with employees about their roles and responsibilities even if you have clear role and performance documentation. One-on-one meetings are a great format for this.
- Consider the company's overall goals when setting individual employee goals. This will help your people understand how their work fits into the larger picture.
- Share feedback regularly on their performance to keep employees on track with meeting the expectations of their role.
- Be proactive about role clarity: You can do this by sending a simple role clarity questionnaire to departments and teams across the organization. Identify areas for improvement if needed.
Clarify employee personal and performance goals
Helping employees achieve developmental goals makes them happier and increases their motivation, engagement, and productivity.
To help your people achieve their goals:
- Provide coaching, support, and sparring.
- Reinforce why achieving their goals contributes to the overall development of the organization.
- Meet with employees regularly to see how they are doing and ensure that meetings are focused, positive, and inspiring.
- Find out if there are any problems along the way and how you can offer support.
- Set milestones and share continuous feedback to keep them accountable.
Set a structure for goal setting and allow room for growth
Set SMART Goals; each goal you assign should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time specific.
- Find the most efficient way to cut the social media budget by 25% before the next contract.
- Estimate the time to complete Project X if you can spare two employees from Team Y for the rest of the month.
Tip: It's also important to set goals based on strengths and provide personal and professional development opportunities.
➡️ Discover 14 examples of developmental goals and ways to achieve them.
To help employees achieve their goals:
- Train managers to be mentors.
- Invest in learning and development, including coaching and mentoring opportunities.
👯 Learn how to create a workplace mentorship program in five steps.
Track and measure performance
Measuring performance helps to improve efficiency and respond to roadblocks on time.
Tip: You can use performance reviews to track progress toward certain goals and alignment with company values.
- Use one-on-one meetings to keep your people aligned and updated with all organizational updates.
- Train managers on essential people management skills, such as effectively delivering feedback.
- Measure team metrics in addition to individual performance to ensure that teammates come together like a well-synced all-star team.
Maintain an ongoing feedback loop
Embrace both positive and negative feedback loops:
- Use negative feedback loops. For example, you can use customer complaints to understand whether your support teams lack specific skills or knowledge.
- Use positive feedback loops. For example, you can use public recognition from employees and leaders to improve team cooperation.
Tip: Use surveys to collect valuable information on products and services from customers and employee feedback forms to review employee job satisfaction and engagement.
Ensure transparency with regular company updates and foster a knowledge-sharing culture
A transparency culture within the workplace increase trust with both employees and clients. Discuss growth plans, new milestones, and pitfalls. Share weekly reports and updates about revenues and performance.
➡️ Our client, DataGuard, uses Zavvy for sharing company-wide updates. Their product marketing team sends out a short monthly journey with training on product updates. This way, everyone is on top of changes.
Embrace agility and continuous improvement
According to McKinsey, "agile organizations instill a common purpose and use new data to give decision rights to the teams closest to the information."
Thus, if your goals aren't aligned to present realities and market needs, modify them to fit perfectly.
You'll lose employees' interest if you stick to the same plan without considering present trends and realities.
- Focus on satisfying clients, even if that means decreasing profit margins and small changes to predefined annual goals.
- Include in the yearly surveys questions about agility and how the organization is adjusting to market demands to improve processes continuously.
- Be flexible and inclined to welcome new ideas from employees without inciting fear.
- Give constructive criticism.
Recognize goal achievement
Celebrating goals helps to keep staff engaged and boosts morale.
After achieving specific goals, celebrate the teams that played a crucial role.
Tip #1: Reward employees and teams. Throw in-person and virtual celebrating parties (for remotely working teams).
Tip #2: Give key employees special mentions and shout-outs on social.
Work closely with employees who fall short
Use performance improvement plans to point out specific areas that need improvements. But don't stop at the planning level. Instead, provide guidance or mentorship to support employees in addressing their performance challenges.
Tip: Make sure you include a clear list of expectations and timelines.
For instance, if you need them to improve on communication, let them know what good communication looks like.
➡️ Align employees with organizational goals with Zavvy
Ensuring organizational alignment involves tracking performance, giving proper feedback, communicating well, and having continuous development strategies.
These are all elements of Zavvy's employee enablement platform:
- With our training solution, you will help employees gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their roles and contribute to the organization's goals.
- With feedback cycles, you will be able to share regular feedback to ensure that employees are meeting the expectations of their roles and working towards the organizational goals.
- With performance reviews, you can connect employee goals to the larger organizational goals.
- With automated surveys, you can collect precious employee insights on improving goal alignment and role clarity.
Zavvy helps you structure onboarding, feedback, and training better.
Get started with a free demo and consultation with our team.