Individual goals and organizational goals are not mutually exclusive. Some personal goals fit right into the organizational goals, while some do not. For example, an individual wanting a higher valuation for his ESOP aligns well with the company’s objective to reach a higher valuation. Similarly, it is in the interest of both the individual and the organization that the company continues to have a good reputation.
However, there can hardly be a time when the company provides everything an employee wants. For example, an employee may not be able to attend every family wedding, as the organization wants him to be at the office on those very days. If a mismatch of goals is unaddressed, the individual may feel disconnected or demotivated. Thus, it is a continuous effort to ensure reasonable fulfilment of an employee’s personal goals even as his job is to work towards the company’s goals. Employee engagement is the key that can make an employee-company relationship successful.
While the process of alignment is difficult, there are some ground rules a leader can follow that will help align individual goals with organizational goals. This organizational strategy includes outlining measurable objectives, fostering mentorship in managers, and giving employees reasonable flexibility.
Why it’s important to align team, individual and employee goals
Some key reasons why we need to work towards aligning individual goals and organizational goals are given below:
- Individuals have goals such as skill development, salary growth, and leisure time. Working for a company helps an employee have an income as well as develop their skills. However, for a company paying a salary and training an employee is the means toward a different set of goals - increasing revenue and raising investments. Attrition can be prevented when we align Individual goals with organizational goals.
- An employee wants to do work that is valuable for the company. An employee’s work is an important contributor to the company’s vision. If an employee does not feel his work is important to the company, he may feel less inspired to work. Thus, aligning individual goals with organizational goals is necessary and desirable to the employee.
- Addressing disconnect in goals. An organization may provide an employee with an opportunity to learn app development, but the employee may be interested in acquiring management skills. If there is a total disconnect in their goals, it needs to be bridged, and that happens only through employee engagement. Various solutions may be explored, such as letting employees take a course on the subject or changing their job profile at the company.
- Work-life balance: Alignment of goals is directly related to creating work-life balance for the employee. Work-life balance is not always possible, and companies must deal with the problem systematically. Enough efforts must be made to align individual goals with organizational goals to ensure adequate work-life balance.
- Physical and mental health: The pandemic has made employees realize the importance of health. Companies must retain the lessons from this pandemic and create a system that aligns a company’s ambitions with employees’ health needs. A healthier workforce will result in a high-performing organization. Thus, aligning an organization with employees’ health needs benefits everyone.
How to align goals across your organization
The alignment of goals is a responsibility that the company must carry out as it is important for both the company and its employees. Here are ways in which this can be carried out:
- Get employees and employers to define their goals clearly: If the goals are vague, it is difficult to have meaningful engagement. With goals clearly defined, it is then possible to match the two and highlight the points of intersection. If the intersection is too low, it can be remedied. Defining a company’s short-term goals can help an employee align his work with these objectives.
- Communicate how the company’s goals are also individual’s goals: Suppose an employee is chasing investors for the company. In that case, he is also developing a network amongst investors, learning how investments are made and creating a job profile in demand in the marketplace. An organization should have an employee engagement system that helps a young employee understand the different ways he is being enriched.
- Create provisions to let employees fulfill personal goals that are not directly aligned with the company’s goals: If any employee wants to learn a skill that the company is not teaching, it can still retain the employee in the job by giving him some flexibility to undertake a course on his own. There are several ways to align individual goals with organizational goals.
- Ask employees to set goals after clearly defining the company’s goals: Quite often, an employee can find something stimulating and satisfactory to do that aligns well with the company’s goals. The job he may want to do may differ from what he has already been allotted. All effective organizations realize that employees may want a change in their profile in the company. For example, suppose a company has an accountant who wants to migrate into product development. In that case, he can be given a chance to do so, provided he has acquired the necessary skills. Or, he can be offered the skill training required to get into this department.
- Inculcating leadership spirit in managers can help the company get the alignment done more effectively: A company can encourage managers throughout the organization to take responsibility for a team member's job satisfaction. This would require managers to go beyond making their team members discuss their weekly updates and performance. They will also need to help them address their personal goals. Fostering a spirit of mentorship can help create a vibrant atmosphere in the company.
- Defining priorities at the given point in time: One of the reasons why alignment is difficult and important is that a company can have several goals, but the priority ranking of these objectives would keep changing. The alignment would require that any change in priority is quickly communicated in the organization through effective employee engagement methods.
Setting S.M.A.R.T objectives helps
A company is a large group of people who were strangers to each other before joining the organization. As a result, few people understand each other very well in the firm. To deal with this, it is important to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) objectives. When a company sets clear targets in terms of sales, marketing, product launches, recruitment, profits, earnings per share, corporate social responsibility, and fundraising, it becomes easier for the workforce to understand how their work aligns with that of the organization. An employee can plan his personal goals to fit well into the organization’s objectives.
Companies often have vision statements such as the well-being of society, integrity and nation-building. However, these vision statements are such that an employee can very well feel that whatever he is doing is in alignment with the company’s vision. This is where it is necessary to form measurable and timely goals that leave little room for wider interpretations. Creating SMART objectives can help in implementing alignment. These should be designed in such a manner that even junior employees who have spent just a day in the company would be able to grasp them.
Align, communicate, and encourage your workforce to stay motivated
Employee engagement is necessary for aligning individual goals with organizational goals. Since a company’s priorities keep changing, this alignment is always a work in progress. Leaders must keep communicating to their managers, who can engage with the workforce to realign themselves as per the changing objectives. Leaders who achieve success in alignment stand out in their industry. The motivation and energy of the workforce in such organizations seldom go unnoticed in society.
Using a performance management platform like Mesh can help drive employee engagement and create alignment by setting up continuous feedback loops. Book a free demo with us to know how we can take your people strategy to the next level.