Overview of Goals Setting Process

The modern and competitive organization cannot exist without the business strategy, which is regularly executed. The organization without goals dies as it has no direction. Employees and managers do not cooperate, and they do not share any common vision. They have no idea about the final status and life in the organization is rather chaotic.

HR has to design process for the objectives setting and monitoring the progress. The goal setting and monitoring process is a complex HR process, which needs many inputs from the business like from Finance, Sales, Operations and external market monitoring. HR is responsible for designing the process and setting basic rules for goal setting in the organization.

The goal setting process helps to navigate the organization in reaching the business strategy. The complex and long term activities are planned, and the individual steps and milestones are defined and progress is monitored. The Finance Department monitors the progress on the company level (visible in financial results), and HR runs the process on the individual employee level.

HR is responsible for setting the methodology for goal setting in the organization. The goals are not just business wide; they have to be personal as well and they have to contribute to the development of skills and competencies in the organization.

The goal setting and monitoring process is about the strong inclusion of managers into the development of the organization. They set goals; they monitor the progress; they decide about correction steps and interventions. Managers are a crucial key success factor for the goal setting process. Managers have to understand the business strategy in a detail, and they have to understand, which initiatives are the most critical ones to reach the defined long term goals of the company.

HR has to define the methodology for goal setting. The goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted). However, they should be challenging employees and developing them. Managers tend to forget about the development part of goals. Employees do not like to be stretched to limits without receiving benefits out of it.

The goal setting process is about the discipline in the organization. The broken goal setting process does not make any immediate damage, but it hurts the performance of the organization in a long term view. HR has to objectively monitor the whole process, and it has to prepare fixes. HR has to work with managers, and it has to prepare many training courses about the correct goal setting for employees.

The goal setting process is a part of the performance management. It has to be well connected with the performance appraisal process. Managers and employees have to see the logic behind both processes. The goals cannot be disconnected from the appraisal. Designing the efficient process is demanding.

What is Goal Setting Process?

The modern performance driven organization manages employees and managers through the strict goal setting process. The top management (executive management) sets the strategic direction for the organization and defines main milestones for the year.

They let the line management translate milestone into goals for departments and employees. The goals represent desired outcomes of different plans of the individual employees. The goals are usually long-term desired changes and implementations of new approaches in a daily job. The goal represents the increase of the productivity or the competitiveness of the organization.

The goal makes a difference between doing and reaching. The goals help to build a more competitive organization than the company without defined objectives. The goals have to be set in line with the business strategy and identified gaps in the department. The goals are not a part of the standard job description. The goals build the extra job content for the defined period.

The goal is the mutual agreement between the manager and the employees. The manager proposes the goal, but the employee has to agree with the goal. They are responsible for the specification of the goal. They are responsible for the agreement of the cooperation as they reach the goal. The manager cannot surpass the responsibility by setting the goal. The manager is responsible for the overall goals achievement. The manager cannot make the failure as the excuse for himself/herself.

The correct goal in the organization has to be set using the SMART goal setting methodology. The employees and managers need certainty about the correct definition of the goal. The employee has to understand the definition of the desired outcome and what is expected as the result. Otherwise, many discussions can be held at the performance appraisal discussion. The employee has to understand the goal and has to be able to imagine several options of reaching the goal. The order to work harder is not a goal!

The manager is responsible for the monitoring of the progress and taking appropriate actions and interventions to get the effort back on track. The manager has to set the goal and has to make a regular adjustment, if it is needed.

The top management influences goals in the organization. The executives set the framework and the playground in the organization. They have to set the playground, which is compatible with the corporate culture in the organization. They cannot set the goals, which are in a direct conflict with the corporate culture. The employees cannot be victims of the system. It is the role of the top management to change the corporate culture. The employees will adjust to the corporate culture. It cannot start with employees. The line management will not allow such a change in the organization.

The organization has to be realistic in setting goals to employees. It cannot expect the complete change in the behavior of employees within 12 months. It has to split the long-term business strategy into milestones, and it has to closely monitor the progress.

Goal is not a task. The task is short-term, and it overrides other priorities. Most tasks have to be finished in a short time. The tactical and strategic decisions are based on results of different tasks. They can influence goals as they can shape goals. However, the team cannot be management by setting many tasks as they miss the strategic framework.