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How HR Helps Organizations Set Goals

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    Businesses need goals to effectively move forward. Without a clear path and companywide alignment, an organization could inadvertently create confusion, frustration and wasted energy for its entire workforce. Read how HR can not only help set and measure business goals, but also help leaders, their teams and individual employees better understand them.

    It’s hard for any organization to survive, let alone thrive, without actionable, measurable objectives. While managers at all levels carry much of the goal-setting responsibility, there are ways HR can help, too. As with so many organizational priorities, setting goals begins with proper communication.

    HR can play a role by ensuring managers understand the importance of goal setting within their teams and by providing the lines of communication that help leadership communicate their intentions with their teams. But HR’s involvement doesn’t have to end there. Before we dive into how HR can help, let’s look at some goal-setting basics.

    What is goal setting?

    Creating an action plan with the intention of inspiring and directing an individual or group toward a goal is known as goal setting. Part of what makes goals so important is that when compared to desires and impulsive intentions, goals are generally more thought out and oriented toward long-term improvements.

    When you lay out the steps necessary to achieving that goal, it’s a clear indication that you’ve dedicated your thoughts, feelings and even your actions toward the endeavor.

    Why is goal setting important?

    How can you get where you want to go without a plan? Setting goals is a useful way to organize our actions toward an expressed objective so we can realize a clear, defined outcome. It also gives us something to strive for and is a great way to focus our efforts and make each day more purposeful and effective.

    We should note that while the specific outcomes may differ, the benefits and mechanics of goal setting for your personal life aren’t much different than what would occur in a business setting.

    Benefits of goal setting

    The most obvious benefit of setting goals is helping yourself achieve a specific outcome. But along the way, there are many more positives about goal setting as a practice. Let’s take a look at just a few of them.

    Increased motivation

    Goals give us something to strive for. And in that pursuit, we can build pride in our achievements and the skills we developed along the way. As we achieve more goals, large or small, the motivation to hit the next goal naturally increases.

    Fostering a sense of accountability

    The very essence of goal setting assumes that you, either as a corporate entity or a single person, have the power to get things done. The act of creating a goal and then achieving it reinforces that agency, and with it grows a sense of accountability for the duties performed along the way. Had you neglected those tasks, responsibility for missing the goal would have fallen on your shoulders. But because of your work, the goal was achieved.

    It’s easier to monitor your progress

    As you work toward large objectives, those smaller goals along the way serve as guideposts to help you see where you’ve been and how you’re progressing toward the big finish. Those waypoints also help ensure that you haven’t strayed from the path on your way toward the finish line. Knowing that everything is proceeding according to plan also plays a role in maintaining the morale needed to continue moving forward.

    You get to choose what matters most

    Your priorities will define your future.

    For people, families, organizations — just about anyone, really — setting priorities is essential to achieving anything meaningful. Without priorities, you risk becoming sidetracked by things that seem important in the moment but ultimately don’t move you toward your larger objectives.

    Establishing these priorities helps us decide what we want from the future, both in the short- and long-term. That’s why understanding your own priorities is an essential first step in any goal-setting process.

    How HR helps organizations set goals

    Now that we know a bit more about goal setting, it’s time to discuss how HR can help an organization find success in this process.

    Aligning company and team goals

    HR has the power to align individual team and companywide goals. Remind managers, supervisors and — if necessary — executive leadership about your organization’s objectives for the new year.

    As teams and employees develop their own goals, help managers understand how their group contributes to the business at large. For example, a program to reduce administrative costs could cascade into one team’s intent to optimize and reduce printing through new project-management software.

    On top of frequent communication, don’t feel like you need to rebuild how you set goals every year. If a previous method works, keep it. At the same time, don’t be overly rigid if a new trend or generation of employees requires you to adapt.

    Staying SMART

    One way HR can help facilitate the goal-setting process is by reminding everyone of the SMART approach to goals. The SMART method offers five parameters for assessing goals to make sure they are appropriate for your given task.

    SMART stands for:

    • Specific – Is the goal clearly defined?
    • Measurable – How will we know when the goal is met?
    • Achievable – Is this goal possible?
    • Relevant – Does this goal align with our long-term objectives?
    • Time-based – What is the deadline for meeting this goal?

    One benefit of the SMART method is that it facilitates communication and implementation of goals by making them easy to understand. However, if one of the SMART parameters is unclear, you may find it difficult to align everyone in pursuit of this goal, ultimately undermining your efforts.

    Connecting your organization with the right software

    Tech is a great way to keep your goal-related efforts moving smoothly. Performance management software empowers employees and supervisors to communicate about goals and objectively view progress toward them. This level of insight makes it easier for everyone in the organization to understand the status of these initiatives and how everyone’s performance is contributing to their success. From new hires all the way up to the C-suite, that transparency can keep everyone motivated and on track.

    Interested in finding more strategies that help your HR team enhance processes and build a stronger culture? Check out Paycom’s blog.

    DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.