Inspiring Team Success: How to Align Employees With Company Goals
Organizational alignment can be the difference-maker in developing a high-performing team. It’s the glue that connects employees to the company’s broader mission, ensuring everyone is rowing in the same direction with their eyes fixed on the same finish line.
But when it comes to goal-setting, achieving organizational alignment doesn’t just happen. It takes work, and requires a commitment to good communication, strategic planning, and buy-in at all levels.
In this article, we’ll share some proven tips for rallying your entire team around a common mission and aligning employee goals with team and organizational goals to drive business success.
Define and demystify organizational goals
The key to a motivated and highly productive workforce lies in the clarity of purpose. When employees comprehend how their day-to-day efforts contribute to the company’s long-term strategy, they’re not only more engaged in their work but more enthusiastic about achieving company goals.
People leaders and managers are pivotal in ensuring employees have role clarity and goal clarity (yes, rhyme intended), meaning they understand what they should be working on day to day and how their individual goals contribute to the business. A well-defined goal-setting framework that each department adopts and is ingrained in the organization’s culture can make this process more seamless.
Transparency is key to goal clarity and alignment. Sharing regular status updates during team meetings and showing how the team is tracking toward goals can help keep everyone in the loop. Maintain open channels of communication and welcome employee input and feedback. The more employees feel heard and understood, the more committed they become to achieving their goals.
Align company and team goals with mission and vision
Do your people know why your organization exists? Do they understand the mission and vision and know how their daily grind makes an impact?
People are more likely to work harder to achieve goals that are firmly rooted in the company vision and mission. This isn’t just about setting objectives and checking a box; it’s about weaving goal attainment into the fabric of your organization. Goal conversations should be happening every day, including discussing how goals align with employees’ personal values and purpose.
When you align individual efforts with organizational success, it not only demonstrates to employees how their hard work translates into real impact, but it also nurtures a sense of shared values. When every employee understands that their contributions are meaningful and measurable, it unifies the team and reinforces the bigger picture.
Elevate goal-setting in your performance management strategy
Consider this: in a 15Five survey, 35% of individual contributors said they only received valuable feedback during their annual performance reviews. Feedback just once a year? You can’t expect high performance when employees have no idea how they’re actually performing week to week or if they’re on track to hit their goals.
Effective performance management is more than just a backward glance at an employee’s work over the course of a year. A holistic approach to performance management looks forward, with crystal-clear objectives woven seamlessly into a tapestry of continuous learning, open dialogue, and avenues for growth.
Employees need a roadmap that delineates what success looks like and how their individual efforts can propel the entire team forward. This is where managers emerge as pivotal figures, responsible for guiding their team members in managing priorities and hitting team objectives.
When HR leaders prioritize manager enablement and set strong objectives for managers to learn and grow, good things happen. Effective managers provide clear directives and translate business strategy into specific tasks and actions for their direct reports. They help their team members connect the dots between their daily work and the organization’s mission and goals.
Nurture goal achievement through learning
Personal growth and company success are inextricably linked. According to Gartner research, when employee goals are aligned with organizational priorities and help employees meet changing needs, coordinate with peers, and hold themselves accountable, employee performance increases by up to 22%.
It’s no secret that most high performers are interested in advancing their careers. By offering ample training and development opportunities and encouraging employees to take on challenging individual goals, you pave the way for a high-performing company culture.
Opportunities to take on new challenges, acquire new skills, and pursue personal goals alongside professional ones keeps employees engaged and ignites their motivation to help the team level up.
Recognize individuals and reward teamwork
According to Gallup research, only one in three workers reported receiving any recognition or praise for their efforts over the span of a week. “At any given company, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored, they write. “Further, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.”
A more inclusive and team-centric approach to goal setting that includes recognizing both individual and collective wins can go a long way.
What does a soccer player do after they score a goal? They run over to celebrate with their team. When employees make strides toward shared overall goals, they want to see their individual work as well as the team’s progress acknowledged.
Recognition from managers and leaders, both public and private, can reinforce positive behaviors and actions. Research shows that praise and gratitude at work can enhance well-being, alleviate stress, and nurture resilience. So, let the spotlight shine on team accomplishments and cultivate an environment that thrives on collaboration and camaraderie.
Be transparent about company progress and flexible with goals
True organizational goal alignment requires everyone to be on the same page regarding the metrics used to track progress. Effective measurement with clear, time-based goals eliminates confusion and ensures everyone is using the same scorecard. It also allows employees to get a better sense of how the company is performing overall.
Leadership transparency about performance is key. Sharing regular updates and openly discussing the state of the company strengthens trust in leadership and helps employees feel more ownership in helping the organization meet its goals.
Flexibility and responsiveness are also critical to effective goal setting and tracking. Leaders, managers, and even individual contributors should have a say in refining goals as their roles or business needs evolve.
Factors like shifts in the company’s financial performance, regrettable turnover, or a pivot in strategy can be catalysts for reassessing and realigning objectives. This adaptability allows teams to navigate change effectively and tailor goals to meet the demands of an evolving business landscape.
Get the playbook for better goal alignment
Aligning your organization with a standardized goal-setting process like the OKR framework can help employees better understand what is expected of them and how their work maps back to company objectives, which can increase employee engagement and performance.
Learn about the importance of smart goal setting, how OKRs can fit into your performance management strategy, and common pitfalls to avoid in our comprehensive OKR playbook.