While most small business owners know the theory of setting company goals, operational concerns mean this process may be neglected. For instance, if you’re launching a new company, your main aim is to generate enough money to make it through the year. Perhaps you’ve established some company goals, knowing where you would like to be in 5 years’ time, but haven’t really planned out the steps that will take you there.
Understanding what company goals are is practically business school 101. That said, the importance of company goals is often overlooked. When you’re dealing with suppliers, clients, employees and the tax man, spending time thinking about percentage growth targets may feel like you’re taking your eyes off the road. It’s easy to deprioritise goal and objective setting.
How powerful can setting goals really be?
"Setting goals is the first step from turning the invisible to visible.”
These are the wise words of Tony Robbins, a leading motivational speaker and coach. It’s easy to understand what he means. Goals focus our attention on achieving outcomes and involve commitment and action.
In business, company goals give clear direction to everyone and can also provide motivational accountability to your employees. Setting goals also gives credibility to any established business models as it shows an endeavour to act, as well as reinforcing company mission statements and overall business objectives.
How do you create business objectives?
Company goals are generally used as a mechanism to measure performance, increase revenue and meet companywide aspirations. To make them more likely to succeed, they should:
have clear guidelines
be measurable, achievable and have a clear timeframe
be regularly reviewed
Company goals aren’t static; you can change them according to changes in the marketplace, the economy and even changes in your own aspirations. Remember, goals don’t need to relate only to financial performance. Cultural goals can also be a powerful tool in the long-term success of your organisation.
Communicating company goals to your employees
Sharing your future vision for the business with your employees can not only reassure them that they are a part of the business’s future, it also makes them more likely to help you get there.
A study by the Harvard Business Review proved the close link between performance metrics and business goals. Over two thirds of employees surveyed said that the most impactful employee engagement driver is when business goals are effectively communicated and understood.
In contrast, an absence of company goals will almost certainly result in low employee motivation. However, introducing badly planned goals, those that are too vague or goals which don’t adhere to the company’s perceived direction or are deemed unachievable will have the same outcome.
Which comes first; company goals or motivated employees?
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.
Conversely, just as goals have an effect on motivation, motivation levels can also impact how well your goals are achieved. If employee motivation is low, then even the most well-defined and achievable goals will be difficult to fulfil; leaders have a careful balancing act to deliver.
Integrating company goals into your organisation
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 for your staff to digest and accomplish.
The performance management cycle is a powerful tool for integrating and communicating goals and objectives into your SME. Not only that, but it can help motivate and develop your employees too.
Setting up a performance management cycle isn’t a quick task so you may find it easier to enlist the help of an HR professional to assist you with this important process. Find a trusted HR professional in your area today with our HR partner directory.