From Employee to Teammate: How inclusive goal setting motivates employees
by Kurt Forster | July 17, 2019
When an employee is hired, they are given pretty clear goals or objectives for their position. However, more often than not, those same employees may not have the same understanding about the goals and objectives of the company and how their role influences that overall objective. In other words, they don’t have the “why.” They’re doing these tasks, but are not really sure how it affects the success of the company.
The front desk employee at a clinic is responsible for patient intake. When hired, this person is told that they are responsible for having patients fill out a list of questions, checking the patients in and verifying insurance and payment methods. This person may not realize that their position helps the organization reach company goals like customer service, valued care and maintaining patient relationships. All of these elements help achieve an even larger goal of seeing 30 patients a day. So, this employee must complete the tasks quickly, efficiently and in a positive way so that a patient will want to come back. However, if they are unaware of all of these goals, they are simply trying to achieve the tasks at hand with no greater purpose.
When a business owner first begins the journey of entrepreneurship, usually they have a strategic plan set in place that covers the vision and mission of their new company. It is advantageous for business owners to make that strategic plan clear to every employee they hire and explain how the various employee positions work together to achieve the overall mission and vision.
Each employee should have a clear understanding of the following:
Vision – A vision statement is the ultimate goal that the owner hopes to achieve. This sets the long-term path in which the company has to take in order to achieve that goal. This part of the plan usually takes five to 10 years to achieve.
Mission – The mission is what the company is doing right now in order to eventually make that vision a reality.
Goals – These are steps that need to be achieved in order to reach that mission.
Objectives – These are the small, everyday tasks that help an employee reach those goals.
Say a person has a vision to be healthy. The person’s mission to achieve this vision is that they are going to take great care of themselves. Their specific goals would be to eat right, to get enough sleep and to exercise. The objectives are the day to day actions like getting to sleep on time, running a mile and choosing a salad over a burger.
This example is similar to a business owner setting objectives for each employee on a daily basis to reach measurable goals so that the company can reach the overall mission and vision.
Including employees when developing these objectives not only helps you achieve your vision faster, it also improves company morale and creates a culture in which everyone feels part of a team. They will be driven to work together and accomplish this shared goal.
As a business owner it is important to see the value of each employee and respect what each person brings to the table. Though you may have this specific goal set in mind, the employees’ various backgrounds and talents may bring new ideas on how to achieve those objectives and goals in new ways that may be more efficient than the original plan you have.
It is okay to learn from past mistakes and it is often better to instruct an employee on what not to do rather than what to do. This gives them the freedom to create a solution to a problem you have not been able to figure out.
With this freedom to create and problem solve, you must also give them the freedom to fail. That is part of the process. If an employee knows that it is okay to fail, they will be more willing to take risks. Those risks can possibly lead to the answer you were looking for all along.
Every business owner has a vision for their company. Having a team mentality in place, will foster a culture of innovation and dedication, allowing that vision to become a reality quicker.
Kurt ForsterConsultants, Forster, Pinellas
Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development
Specialty: Marketing and Strategic Planning, Business Planning, Financial Management, Capital Access
Kurt Forster found his interest in business consulting and training working at the USF Center for Organizational Communication while completing his master’s in communication. Later, he put that experience to use, owning and operating two market research businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit stuck with Forster even while working in large organizations, opening new offices for St. Petersburg College and later the State of Wyoming’s Business Council. Additionally, he led marketing efforts to redevelop downtown St. Petersburg as the Director of Marketing for Bay Plaza Companies. He developed his enthusiastic facilitator style working in a variety of teaching positions from alpine ski instructor and Sea World animal trainer to college instructor. Forster is also a certified instructor for NxLevel Business Training Programs and Kauffman Foundation FastTrac TechVenture Program, and is a Certified LivePlan Expert Advisor and a Certified Profit Mastery Facilitator. Forster also founded Common Ground, a downtown development organization in St. Petersburg, and assists a variety of technology and entrepreneurship organizations throughout Tampa Bay.