Regardless of whether you are starting a new strategy, or part of the way through a five-year plan, goal setting and tracking is central to make sure you don’t lose sight of what you set out to achieve.
There’s a saying, “Do not rush to fail” – it’s a way of saying that regardless of what is happening, always take the time to plan.
Planning ahead is about setting goals, and although there are a number of schools of thought around this (just think S.M.A.R.T or B.H.A.G), this article is about looking at the ‘Why’ behind goal setting, how that aligns to organizational objectives and importantly, what is the critical path.
Power up #1 -alignment to the organization
This sounds so obvious, but it’s not always the case as teams and people can go off on a tangent and can be focusing on non-critical paths.
Alignment with organizational objectives requires effective communication and leadership. This information should flow down the leadership structure from the CEO or MD through to management, team leaders and team members.
Start with the BIG picture
The flow of information is essential in gaining an in-depth understanding of where the organization is envisioned in heading over the next 12 months. Start with the end in mind, map out projects for the year, and understand the objectives to be met.
For leadership, how to communicate this can be achieved through several options. However, for the Human Resources Team, it’s important to encourage executive leaders, department managers and team leaders to look at how this will be structured.
Understanding the big picture is more than just hearing the strategic plan for the next 12 months, it’s about how it applies to their team.
“It’s so important to be on the same page as the leader of the business, so you understand the pain points and where they see the biggest challenges coming through”
– Rob Bromage, intelliHR CEO
Goal setting and tracking
As mentioned earlier, there are several schools of thought around how goals should be actioned and achieved. Whichever option your organization goes with, setting goals is the first step.
“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
– Zig Ziglar, Goal-Oriented Motivational Speaker
Just as important as setting goals, is setting the right goals and framework. The other important aspect of goal setting is to ensure that there is accountability. To achieve this, it’s important to ensure that you are providing leadership, managers and team the right tools to get the right outcomes.
Goal setting and goal tracking go hand in hand when it comes to meeting outcomes and working collaboratively.
This is also important for the HR Team – imagine the benefit of complete visibility. Understanding that team member goals are being achieved which feed into departmental goals, which in turn are fulfilling the organization’s objective. Being able to have your finger on the pulse like that is so advantageous.
HR technology continues to advance and create tools to assist in goal setting and tracking, removing the need for manual processes, spreadsheets and continual follow up – the information is now readily available at our fingertips.
Utilizing tools around goals will help maintain focus on the big picture, provide insights into projects and deliverability, and assist in driving the organization forward.
In fact, some goals may ascertain to improving business processes, and in doing so remove time-consuming manual processes. Goal management (i.e., setting and tracking) is all about reaching the primary objective, and in doing so find efficiencies that relate to the objective.
“It’s about focusing on the actual outcomes you’re trying to achieve and then selecting the right tools that are fit for that purpose. We need to understand that the systems of the past don’t necessarily fit in with the tools of the future. So much has changed, even the expectations of the staff. We must all step back and look at solutions.”
– Rob Bromage, intelliHR CEO
Want help setting goals? Check out our free goal setting worksheet to set flexible and SMART goals.
Marketing and Sales teams are very aware of being customer-centric, however other departments within an organization, particularly those that are not customer-facing often do not consider the customer in their planning.
When it comes to alignment with organizational objectives, being customer-centric is a great perspective to maintain. Even team members who are focused on resolving functional outcomes or administrative reporting benefit from being reminded of the end-user, the customer. After all, no business can exist without them!
For the Human Resources Team, comprehending the evolving requirements of the customer, and industry trends is a great way to lean into staffing requirements and upskilling.
Power up #2 – the power of goal setting
The success of any organization is directly attributed to their ability to set a vision and mission statement and then go out and meet those goals.
An article by Bob Proctor, Chairman and Co-Founder of Proctor Gallagher Institute referred to a ten-year study of some Harvard University graduates. 83% had no goals, 14% had specific goals that were not written down – the 14% were earning three times as much as the 83%.
Further to that, there was a 3% group of the alumni who had their specific goals written down clearly and reviewed regularly. This group was earning ten times as much as the 83%.
This is part of the crux of this article, if you are in HR and you can implement goal setting and tracking, you are helping towards the success of the company.
Do not rush to fail
This phrase, “Do Not Rush to Fail” came from a leader in the Australian military.
His men were under some unexpected enemy fire, not part of the plan. Their training had become instinct and their professionalism kicked in. During this fire fight, there was concern because it was not in the plan, it was unexpected.
He called on the leaders in the team to ‘plan’ their way out of the situation. He had full confidence in his soldiers to carry out their duties, which gave him and his leaders the chance to plan their next move.
Knee jerk reactions are a sign of rushing to fail.
Create time to plan, even when it’s all hitting the proverbial fan – this is always better than failing.
Make it easy, make it empowering
Being on the Human Resources team, we are all well aware of the power of goal setting and tracking – but getting team to participate can sometimes be like herding cats, right?
For goals to be profitable, they must be:
- Visible – as in easily accessible and reviewed. Not hidden in the back of the drawer or some long lost spreadsheet in an obscure folder somewhere.
- Measurable – even B.H.A.Gs are measurable – there has to be an identifiable outcome, and
- Adaptable – this flexibility is necessary, which is part of the not rushing to fail concept, and it’s also part of the concept behind regular reviews. Things do not always go to plan, so adaptability within goals continues the progress.
intelliHR effectively uses its own goal setting and tracking component of the HR system.
Team members have great access to see the bigger picture, and from there can set their goals. Team leaders can assist with this, and work with them in tracking their goals and performance.
It’s about empowering the intelliHR team to pursue their goals, to contribute to the bigger picture and to enhance their development. Culture contributes significantly here.
All that said, the system has been purposefully designed to ensure that the use of the Goals component is easy. Due to it being visible and measurable, it’s empowering.
Interactivity creates stronger collaboration
Using goal setting and tracking software allows for greater visibility for both leaders and for team members.
For the team member, they get a clear insight into how their goals contribute to the greater objectives. They have ownership of their individual goals and they see the greater value in what they achieve.
For leaders, they are able to view the big picture and how cascading goals are impacting projects and outcomes. They are able to work closely with their team members to assist, give guidance, recognize and reward efforts.
Most importantly, teams and inter-departmental collaboration soars as interactivity around goals is enhanced. Collaboration between departments is vital for any organization.
Power up #3 -stick to the critical path
The critical path consists of the necessary steps required to achieve your goal or outcome. These are the non-negotiable requirements to reach your goals and success.
When it comes to goal setting, it’s these steps that must receive greater focus and prioritization. Non-critical aspects are what would be nice to have, but not necessary. To help with this, consider the aspects below;
Direction and clarity
When it comes to goals and alignment with organizational objectives, direction and clarity is imperative. This comes from leadership, so it needs to be communicated to be understood.
If a leader can not clearly explain the organization’s projects or objectives to a primary school-aged child, then expect goals to have some vagueness or ambiguity to them.
In addition to this, there needs to be measurable outcomes. The best way to achieve this is by having everyone utilizing the same system and approach.
In order to achieve the goals you set, it’s important to be able to measure them and make use of all available tools that can help support goal progress along the way. Having access to accurate and digestible data is imperative to this.
“HR should be seen as the facilitator of business performance, and it should be about enablement and making things easier for staff to better look after their customers”
– Rob Bromage, intelliHR CEO
Autonomy and ownership
When team members are involved in their individual and team goal-setting process, it allows them to see the big picture, it allows them to see how their contribution is crucial. In turn, this creates a level of responsibility and obligation to their team.
This is positive and motivates personal ownership of the goals. Ownership is buy-in, it’s employee engagement, and it encourages tighter connection within their team and their workplace. It’s also a sign that they are trusted to perform on behalf of the level. All of this speaks to the value the individual has within the organization.
As performance continues to develop, so does trust and autonomy. This also speaks highly as to the individual’s value and role within the organization. Following the critical path is actually also a great way to further train and develop team members, grow leadership and cultivate culture. Do not underestimate the power of empowering your people.
The icing on the cake
Once the Critical Path objectives have been accomplished, that is when you add the ‘icing on the cake’. This is where additional features, design, value adds can get considered.
With goal setting, these sorts of attributes need to be in the final stages. This is all about the ‘icing on the cake’, it’s less about functionality and more about features and design–generally speaking.
Once the critical components have been achieved, and if time allows, this is where going the extra mile comes into play. It should always be scheduled toward the end of the project–it’s important, but its importance is only a factor after the critical path is achieved, up until then, it’s nothing more than a desired outcome.
intelliHR is a people management platform helping HR, leaders and managers enhance performance, culture, engagement and retention. With built-in HRIS and powerful real-time analytics, see how the platform works today.