Often when you’re launching a new company your only aim is to generate enough money to make it through to the next month. Your extent of forward planning is knowing where you would like to be in 5 years’ time, but not actually how you’re going to get there. This practice often stays with you, and, even when you’re an established company, you lack achievable goals and just focus on that end destination which can sometimes seem like it’s forever unreachable.

Goals are incredibly powerful as they can focus attention on achieving desirable outcomes and involve commitment and action. In business, company goals give direction to the collective effort of all parts of an organisation and can also provide motivational accountability to it’s employees.

Company goals are generally used as a mechanism to measure performance, increase revenue and meet company wide aspirations. It is important then that these should have clear guidelines and are measurable, achievable and timely. Setting goals for the company to achieve also gives credibility to any established business models as it shows an endeavor to take action, as well as reinforcing company mission statements and overall business objectives. However, company goals aren’t static and can change according to the course that the business wishes to take.

How powerful can setting goals really be?

According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, “The Impact of Employee Engagement on Performance”, performance metrics are clearly tied to business goals. 69% of employees surveyed said that the most impactful employee engagement driver is when business goals are effectively communicated and understood. By sharing with your employees your future vision for the business, it can not only reassure them that they are a part of the business’ future, it also enables them to help you get there.

This effect that setting company goals has on employee motivation is important for managers, and business owners alike, to note. The absence of company goals will almost certainly result in low motivation amongst staff, whilst the introduction of badly planned goals, those that are too vague, don’t adhere to the company’s perceived direction or are deemed unachievable will have the same outcome.

Just as goals have an effect on motivation, motivation levels can also impact goal attainment. If employee motivation is low, then even the most well-defined and achievable goals will be difficult to fulfil. Goals alone are not a guaranteed remedy for low motivation, you must then look to the wider working environment, including company culture, atmosphere and attitude, all of which could be having an adverse effect on employee motivation. It is at this point that looking at your company’s performance management processes would be advised.

When you next come to think about your company goals, consider your end objective and see how that can be broken down into achievable milestones that your staff can digest and accomplish. Company goals, a well as your performance management, can have a powerful effect on employee motivation and the aim is to challenge your employees but not to dishearten them.