— 5 min read

An entity without a defined direction will inevitably go nowhere, or as Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll put it, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

Surely, “nowhere” is not the desired destination of any business. At the end of the day, all businesses share a common goal: success.

The data is hard, and the results are undeniable. Goal-setting and goal alignment are key to maximizing employee productivity and potential, and ultimately, to achieving Destination Success.

For most companies, employees represent both the biggest line expense item as well as their most valuable asset. This means that Destination Success is most efficiently achieved when employees perform to their full potential. This can be the biggest challenge a company will face, but overcoming it is critical.

SMART goals

STEP 1: Setting SMART Goals

Before a workforce can effectively work toward the larger direction of the organization, its members must have goals that clearly contribute. The process of setting goals should be a collaborative process between an employee and his or her manager, and should use the S-M-A-R-T framework. Use Weekdone’s widget to see if you’ve accomplished this.

  • Specific – they are clearly understood by everyone in the team
  • Measurable – you can always get a clear idea of how well you're doing
  • Achievable – when planning, there's no point in deciding to fulfill all dreams in a year. Make sure you think what you really could do.
  • Relevant – the goals you set must be important for your company. The goal shouldn't be “Let's hire 20 people” but “Let's increase the revenue enough in order to hire 20 people.”
  • Time-bound – they have a specific due date for completion to resist the urge to say “okay, we'll do it next year.”

While SMART goals are generally recognized as a goal management best-practice, writing them is not easy. It takes some practice, but especially vigilance, to ensure that an employee's goals are effective. When managers and employees know how to write SMART goals, it helps take the subjectivity out of goal setting, and ensures they have a shared set of expectations.

Step 2: Goal Alignment

This is where goal alignment enters the equation. Writing SMART goals is only half the battle of achieving full employee productivity. Additionally, each individual’s goals must concretely align with the objectives of the company, not just to their own success or their manager’s success. The ultimate goal is to make sure that everything done by each individual is helping to move the company toward its long-term objectives.

Step 3: Reap the Rewards of SMART goals and Goal Alignment.

A study conducted by the Workforce Intelligence Institute found the following benefits of goal-setting and goal alignment:

  • Greater Financial Success

Researchers found that companies that more closely aligned goals across their organization enjoyed much higher levels of financial success. The study also found that employees in the weakest-performing companies did not clearly understand the connection between their individual efforts and the overall goals of their employers.

  • Increased Employee Engagement

Employees who clearly understand their individual goals-and how they relate to those of your company-naturally become more engaged with their work. Once employees see how they can make a direct contribution to your company's success, they begin to focus on finding ways to work smarter and more efficiently. This boost in employee productivity will naturally lead to increased operating margins and profitability for your company.

  • Reduced Employee Turnover

The business value of having employees engaged in their work cannot be overestimated. As proof, a recent Gallup poll showed that companies with large numbers of dissatisfied workers experience greater absenteeism and lower productivity-as well as a 51% higher employee turnover rate. Clear goal alignment can help to create greater employee ownership in your company's ultimate success.

Are you a CEO, a manager, or an employee with experience in the effectiveness of SMART goals and goal alignment, or maybe a lack thereof? Let us know in the comments below!

Use Weekdone’s widget to see how SMART your goals are, and check out a recent blog post on SMART goals and workplace culture.