Without a doubt, employees are your most important asset. Without employees, there would be no one to run your business. Bad employees can ruin a business, while great employees can do more for your organisation, more so than just having a great product. However, under bad management and guidance, even the best employees can go stray and never unleash their full potential. That’s why it is crucial for any modern organisation to place efforts and measures into communication company-wide goals to their employees. Just telling your managers the goal is not enough, every single stakeholder should be able to clearly understand what their own individual role is in the business.
If you are not yet convinced, there is multiple research that backs up the following benefits of aligning company-wide goals:
- Aligning your company with its goals increases operating margins.
- As employees clearly understand their individual goals, and how they can make a direct contribution, they will begin to find ways to work smarter and more efficiently. This will lead to an increase in employee productivity, and thus operating margins.
- Effective communication of company-wide goals means quicker execution of company strategy.
- The increased goal visibility allows everyone to identify roadblocks and quickly eliminate them to execute strategy. Without knowing what the end-goal is, employees will often go around in circles, trying to find the best solution.
- Lastly, aligning company-wide goals will reduce employee turnover.
- The most common reasons as to why employees leave is often because they do not like their boss/team or they do not see opportunity for growth. One of the core reasons for this is due to the lack of transparency. Aligning company goals with employees will induce a sense of teamwork and appreciation. This will reduce employee turnover and ensure that everyone is working together and not against each other.
Getting started with better company alignment is not easy.
1. Have a CLEAR goal.
“Grow our business” is a common goal, but the lack of clarity leaves it up for interpretation, misaligning the organisation on the strategies and/or tactics needed to achieve this goal. Having a clear goal will mean that everyone will instantly understand what it is and most importantly, how to get there. Be as specific as you can! Instead of “grow our business”, perhaps the goal would be to “increase revenue by 25% over 2 years throughout Asia”. Every project and task, should then directly relate to this goal.
2. Communicate it relentlessly.
Having a goal is important. However, being able to communicate it and project it out towards the employees can be one of the hardest things, depending on the size. Small teams will benefit from being in close proximity of each other. This problem could be easily solved just by writing the goal in BIG letters and having dashboards, to update the team on the process. For example, if you were to reverse engineer the goal of increasing sales by 25% throughout Asia, perhaps it is to get 100 sales per month. A great way to motivate the team is to cross out every milestone (for example, every 5 sales you do), so they know they are making progress.
Larger organisations will have to be more creative in its execution. Whether it is an intranet that updates every week or so with the company’s performance, or live dashboards on large monitors on every floor, it is important for employees to directly see the contribution they are making to the success of the organisation.
3. Ensure every action/task your employees take will have direct effect to that goal.
Once the message to your employees is clear, management has to motivate team members to ensure that every task they do will add value. It is human nature to complete the lowest hanging fruit tasks, that provide little value. However, it is the management’s team responsibility to effectively allocate its resources to the right projects and tasks, that will eventually reach the company goal of 25% increase in sales.
4. Reward employees.
Every time you reach a milestone, CELEBRATE! It is essential to celebrate the small wins because it will get you closer and closer to the end-goal. Whether it is just holding a small, intimate party with the company or just treating the employees with free movie tickets, it is always important to show appreciation for what they did. These employees will continue to work hard as they will feel rewarded and be more obliged to think of better and more efficient ways to reach the goal.
Of course, the outlined steps above are a simplistic view of a very complex system. People are often resistance to change, so don’t expect it to change overnight. Perhaps the first step for leaders is to understand what it takes to align the team, and the process to go through. At Innov8, we have conducted a few successful seminars for corporate leaders to assist them with improving company culture and goal alignment.