Aligning personal and organizational goals is crucial for employee engagement and productivity. Aligned goals lead to a positive work experience and stronger relationships between employees. They can also help in boosting employee engagement and productivity. This can be done by emphasizing the importance of goals, providing feedback on progress, and offering resources for goal achievement.
In fact, as per LinkedIn’s 2022 Learning Report, Learning and Development teams have chosen to focus on training and upskilling their employee skill sets.
The report makes us wonder why this is so relevant to companies.
Employees need to feel engaged in their organization’s goals, making them more productive, committed, and happier. Some ways to start approaching the alignment of organizational and employee personal goals would be to:
- Investing in employee development opportunities relevant to current work trends, and enabling employees to grow into their role with the company.
- Giving employees training opportunities that are appropriate for their skill level. You want them to grow in ways that make a difference on the job.
- Assessing training initiatives and applying a strategic approach to their improvement.
- Knowing where you’re investing and predicting benefits to come with the investment.
Learning and development is a sensitive area that needs to be approached carefully. In 2021, Auzmor showed that spending money on training initiatives alone does not ensure better outcomes. As part of their solution, Auzmor shares a planning and competency model that makes sure that such initiatives produce beneficial results.
Why it’s essential to align organizational, team, and employee goals.
- Aligned goals set the tone for your organizational strategy.
For goals to be successfully achieved, they must be specific, measurable/trackable, have a deadline for completion, and be a support-led process. This helps your employees visualize the endpoint.
- It fosters employees’ accountability and hence, engagement.
Employees’ sense of what they’re contributing to the team and the organization strengthens their sense of belonging and satisfaction.
- Clarifies the priorities.
There is often a lack of communication and understanding of what needs to be done between the managers and employees. To expedite progress, there must be clear instructions for employee learning and education during the set time.
- Aligned goals are crucial for success in the workplace.
Employees should always strive to reach their team’s goals, and leaders should ensure that employees have a shared understanding of the said objectives.
- Critical to improving team compatibility.
Having a clear goal can help drive productivity and unify the workforce.
What should goal alignment accomplish?
The main idea of goal alignment is to promote shared values. It is a process that helps to align the goals of an organization with its people.
To achieve this, organizations should focus on three key areas:
1) Learning about organizational culture and values helps them promote shared values.
2) Understanding employee needs and providing greater transparency allows trust and understanding to bloom in the employer-employee relationship. This motivates employees to put effort into the mutual growth process.
3) Creating clear, measurable, and achievable goals allows them to move through this process efficiently, with a clearly visible benefit. This also leads to enhanced work dedication and teamwork.
In her article, Julia Schmidt, Award-winner PA of the Year Scandinavia 2017, shows the fundamentals of goal alignment and shares her brilliant views on how and why it is vital with a lucid graphic shared below:
How to align personal goals with organizational goals?
The first step towards achieving this is to identify your employees’ pain points and what might be their personal goals. Next, you need to identify the organizational goals and find which of them are aligned with their personal ones. Finally, you need to align the organizational goals with employees’ personal ones by working on them together with the employee.
You could go about this by having multiple one-on-one sessions with the employees to understand their personal goals or even use a tool such as Pietential to understand and keep track of where they exactly stand in the life balance scale and customize ways to improve it in the form of a pie-chart.
There’s a pressing need to understand employees’ pain points, requirements, and needs beyond financial aspects, such as physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
Once you have an idea and structure for your alignment plan, the following steps can be executed keeping the following in mind:
1- Set cascading goals.
Setting cascading goals will help you to align personal goals with organizational goals. When an individual sets their own goal, it must align with the organization’s needs. If a person’s personal goal is not aligned with an organization’s goal, they will likely have difficulty achieving success.
2. Track everything in one place.
Aligning personal goals with organizational ones is not always easy, especially when juggling many responsibilities. One way to make this process easier is to track everything in a single place.
3. Make the metrics available.
A critical component of personal and organizational goal alignment is transparency. Share your goals and plans for achieving those objectives, and then assess how they are connected to or aligned with the organization’s mission, strategy, and business operations.
This allows your employees to visualize their progress and witness the impact of your initiatives.
4. Effective training gives employees a sense of purpose and belonging.
Training and development of employees is a crucial asset and key resource for an organization. Organizations should provide training and development opportunities to their employees as they carry out their mission. Training can be seen as a long-term investment that will increase an individual’s performance, improve retention, and help develop leadership skills and an enhanced ability to work with teams.
For the employee, it gives them a clear view of the training’s benefits while motivating them to perform better.
5. Employee development increases employee engagement and loyalty.
Employees engaged in their work reap the benefits of their own development and are more likely to experience an overall sense of satisfaction.
Employees who feel they can grow within a company with aligned goals are more loyal and more likely to stay with the company in the long run. As a company grows and expands, employees are rewarded with new opportunities, and their desire to take on challenges and responsibilities increases.
6. Improve feedback systems to improve employee engagement and productivity
Feedback systems in which supervisors provide feedback to employees have been around for a long time. However, the structure of these feedback systems can vary greatly from company to company.
Some feedback systems are too vague and difficult for employees to understand. Other feedback systems require employees to create a list of goals and produce them for their supervisor.
Your feedback systems should be structured and not scheduled erratically so that employees can share their opinions to feel heard and understood.
7. Communicate your expectations
For an employee, knowing their organization’s expectations is imperative to achieving success.
Knowing what you’re expected to do will make it much easier to tell whether or not you’ve met those expectations. For example, the expectations of the organization might be shared in the form of:
- A list of tasks that are required to be completed to meet the demands of a certain role.
- A list of the organizational values that their role should exemplify.
- The amount of time you should be putting into it.
- The challenges or problems the company may face if they don’t meet these requirements
- The benefits they would see at the end of the alignment and how it would help them grow as a person, not just as an employee.
8. Goal alignment builds employee engagement
Goal alignment builds employee engagement when aligning personal goals with organizational goals.
The first step in goal alignment is clearly understanding what needs to be done and what goals need to be achieved for the organization to succeed.
The second step is understanding what each individual wants from work and life.
These two steps will help people understand if they have aligned their personal goals with organizational goals or not, which will lead them toward a more fulfilling career and life.
9. Ensure that everyone gets recognized to improve employee engagement and productivity
Make sure that individuals feel more aligned with organizational objectives by recognizing them for their contributions.
Give individuals the freedom to partake in decision-making to establish trust between team members and the organization. Create a sense of belonging and trust among team members so they become invested in the organization.
The most successful organizations know their goals and align them with that of their employees. The best way to achieve this is by developing a culture that supports, encourages, and celebrates collaboration, innovation, and contribution.
These organizations recognize that the needs of all members are different, and their commitment to diversity is reflected in their leadership team. Providing a framework for success and permanence creates a sense of community and helps employees find meaning in their work while benefiting the company.
- How do you align goals across your organization?
Achieving alignment begins with understanding success. What are your people trying to achieve? What are the expectations and constraints of your organization? Once these questions have been determined, you can find the best strategy to achieve alignment.
- Why should employees align their personal goals to the goals of the organization?
- Employees will be more engaged and motivated to work towards the company’s goal, leading to higher productivity and better performance.
- They would be more likely to stay with the company for longer if they invested in its vision.
- Employees can avoid conflict of interest if their personal goals are aligned with the company’s objectives.
3. What happens when the organization’s and employees’ goals are not aligned?
In such a scenario, below are the three significant things that can happen:
- Organizations can lose their competitive edge, and employees will feel demotivated.
- Companies will experience a loss in productivity and profits.
- Employees may start to work less efficiently and, in extreme cases, may even resign.
- How do you achieve organizational alignment?
Organizational alignment is the process of creating a shared understanding of what an organization’s goals are and how to achieve them.
There are two ways to achieve organizational alignment:
1) Top-Down Alignment: This is where a company’s leaders define the goals and strategies that need to be achieved. They then communicate those goals in a clear way to all employees through various channels, such as meetings, emails, memos, or presentations.
2) Bottom-Up Alignment: This is where employees decide on their own what they want to do and then align with the company’s goals.