Traditional goal-setting has a “top-down” quality to it. Management announces company or departmental goals, and employees have little choice but to fall in line. Top-down goals leave employees with no say in the company’s direction and no sense of ownership in the goal-setting process. In worst-case scenarios, this results in feelings of resentment and powerlessness among your workforce and high levels of turnover as employees leave for positions where they feel their input is valued.

Such problems are hardly isolated events. The Greatness Gap: The State of Employee Disengagement reports more than 60 percent of employees don’t know their company’s mission, vision, or values.

Collaborative employee goal-setting encourages employees to take an active role in charting their company’s direction, increasing engagement and improving their’ understanding of company values.

Advantages of Collaborative Employee Goal-Setting

Collaborative employee goal-setting may seem alarming to managers used to dictating goals, but the advantages are enormous. Your employees most likely understand the challenges of their daily responsibilities far better than you do, and as such, they are the best-equipped to offer feedback on how well they can influence and contribute to company goals.

Collaborative employee goal-setting requires that employees and managers discuss possible goals, listen to each other’s concerns, and prioritize and evaluate goals as a team. Setting collaborative goals increases transparency, while also ensuring employee concerns and suggestions are heard and taken into account.

A collaborative approach gives employees a sense of ownership in the company’s direction that’s vital for employee engagement and motivation.

Encouraging Collaborative Employee Goal-Setting

Collaborative goals play two important roles: they further the company mission while also benefiting employees’ growth and professional development. This alignment is crucial; without it, collaborative goal-setting will fail to produce positive results.

To ensure collaborative goals align with company needs, communication is essential. Regular 1:1 meetings provide a framework for employees and managers to craft individual goals that benefit each employee’s department, and by extension, the larger company. Team meetings provide opportunities to create and evaluate department-level goals that support larger company initiatives.

To have a meaningful voice in goal-setting, every employee should be able to explain how their work impacts company-level strategies. The responsibility for disseminating this information falls to management, who can use 1:1 meetings to explore company values with individual employees. Regular surveys can evaluate how well employees understand the company mission with leading questions such as:

  • Can you describe the company’s strategy in a few sentences?
  • Do you know how your role supports company initiatives?
  • Have your recent accomplishments helped further company goals?

Collaborative employee goal-setting is an ongoing conversation between employees and management used to decide upon and achieve mutually beneficial goals. Goal management software helps facilitate this conversation by making it easier for managers to track goal results while accumulating valuable data for succession decisions and new leadership roles. Goal management software also makes it easier for employees to track their own goal progress, collaborate with team members, and give and receive feedback as they work towards their goals.

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