Helping your employees develop the right habits to achieve their goals is essential for success – at the corporate and the individual level.
Conversely, when employees don’t feel supported in their goals – or don’t see opportunities to progress within an organization – they can become disengaged. They’re less productive, more likely to be absent from work, and they’ll eventually leave for a better job.
By engaging your workforce, employees feel part of your organization and its success. They feel motivated. And they believe they can contribute in a positive way.
Here are 7 ways you can help employees feel engaged and achieve their goals, ultimately leading to more company success:
1. Give employees a sense of purpose.
When it comes to setting goals, employees want to see how their work contributes to the larger corporate objectives of an organization.
Setting the right individual objectives, and explaining how these individual objectives will positively impact the overall business, can boost an employee’s motivation and give them a sense of purpose.
2. Communicate liberally.
Conversation is a two-way street.
Encourage employees to seek help from their managers if they have any concerns or questions about their work or objectives.
Similarly, it’s important for managers to have regular conversations to praise progress, proactively nip any problems in the bud and identify growth or training opportunities.
It’s a good idea for managers to regularly discuss performance objectives with their employees, and have a routine “temperature check,” as people’s ideas and priorities change all the time. Only talking about performance once a year (or whenever your organization has its formal reviews) can prevent managers from having meaningful conversations with employees.
Offering coaching or mentoring to employees can also be beneficial, as having someone to talk to about their ambitions can be eye-opening for employees.
Mentoring should come from someone outside an employee’s immediate team – someone they look up to, who can offer non-judgmental advice and support.
Across all communication, it’s vital that employees know the organization supports them in achieving their goals. This overt support encourages employees to open up about their fears and concerns.
3. Offer opportunities for development.
It’s important to stretch an employee’s capabilities and let them explore outside of their comfort zone.
Some employees want to work their way up to a leadership position. Others would rather explore other areas of the business.
Make it easy for employees to learn about and apply for other opportunities within the organization. It’s beneficial for both the employee and company to recruit internally, and hiring from within makes good business sense, since there’s typically less training involved. So, encourage employees to seek out opportunities and push themselves to develop.
4. Help employees follow their dreams.
If an employee doesn’t seem engaged and doesn’t know what they want to do, dig a little deeper and find out what else interests them – it doesn’t have to be something work-related.
For example, it may be that the employee is a keen photographer outside of work and may be able to utilize this skill to help with your organization’s website imagery or social media posts.
Understanding the bigger picture of what an employee wants from life may seem like veering away from company goals, but you may be able to factor that into their career development.
When you help people accomplish their dreams, they’ll do pretty much anything for you.
5. Keep goals relevant.
Priorities and workload can change enormously over the course of a year, and not all objectives are still relevant by the end of the performance measuring period.
Encourage employees to take ownership of their goals and give them the opportunity to reshape their objectives if they feel their original focus areas have shifted.
If you set goals at the start of the year and expect employees to meet every single one without any guidance, you’re setting your company and your people up to fail.
Likewise, it’s a good idea to set milestones for each overall goal, so employees have a clear path to success.
Milestones make goals more tangible and measurable. Plus, with milestones in place, it’s easier to keep track of an employee’s progress, the employee is likely to feel less overwhelmed and motivation is increased to accomplish those bite-sized targets.
6. Reward achievements regularly.
To motivate employees, it can be a good idea to offer an incentive or reward for completing goals. Incentives could include a cash bonus, a free lunch or a shout out in a company meeting.
Don’t wait until the entire goal has been completed – celebrate the smaller wins and recognize when an employee has demonstrated that they’re working toward the larger goal. This recognition will keep employees engaged and motivated to achieve their overall targets.
7. Analyze performance collectively.
If an employee doesn’t meet their goals, it’s vital to investigate why. And this investigation should be led by the employee.
Was the goal unrealistic? Did the employee get the support they needed to reach the goal? Were other tasks made priority as focus shifted? Were there personal circumstances that meant they couldn’t achieve it?
Simply moving on to the next set of objectives without analyzing previous goals de-values the purpose of goal setting in the first place and is likely to lose the engagement of the employee.
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