Managing People

HR, here’s how to keep your company on track with their goals

June 19, 2019
March 8, 2024
Lattice Team

It’s one thing to set and follow through on your own goals -- it’s quite another to have to keep track of your whole company’s goals. But if one of your goals is to keep your company’s goals on track, it can be easier than you think.

If you’re an employee looking to keep on track with your goals, click here.

If you’re a manager looking to keep your direct reports on track with their goals, click here.

The first thing to do is to set clear expectations among your employees about how to set their goals. Within your HR team, and with your executive team, answer these questions:

  • What are the timelines of these goals? When should they start, when should they end?
  • Who do you want to create goals?
  • How do you want to convey company goals to the whole company?
  • How do you want to encourage people to set their goals?
  • What goal-setting resources can you give employees?
  • What kind of visibility do you want for these goals?

What are the timelines of these goals? When should they start, when should they end?

When it comes to timelines, you might want to look at performance reviews or engagement surveys: both assessments that run on cycles. That is, there’s enough time between reviews or surveys for action and change, and for the next review or survey to reflect the results of those actions and changes. Similarly, goals can run on a cycle -- perhaps yearly, quarterly, monthly, biannually, etc. -- so there’s time for the employees, departments, and company to take action and grow. But this cycle will also be based on the next question.

Who do you want to create goals?

Do you want the whole company to set individual goals? Do you want a company goal that lasts a month or a quarter? Do you want certain departments to make new goals every quarter, while others stick with the same goal over the course of six months? Perhaps you want every new batch of onboarding employees (and their managers!) to create goals as soon as they start? Answering these questions will help you build definitive goal cycles and goal cycle processes and expectations throughout the company.

How do you want to convey company goals to the whole company?

Everyone at a company should understand their company’s goals -- this helps motivate employees and gives them context for a company’s actions. How do you want to convey them to the company? Through a combination of an email, a presentation, or an announcement on your internal messaging system might be a good place to start. This can also be a good way to encourage people to get started on setting their goals.

How do you want to encourage people to set their goals?

This can be a tricky process, but if you put time down for when to notify and check in with managers and employees, this can work out not unlike a performance review or engagement survey -- which, it should be noted, have deadlines. Executive teams can also lead the way on this front. Similar to how employees feel more engaged and confident giving feedback when they see the executive team does it, they can also feel motivated to create their goals when they see their executive team’s goals.

Also, do you want to encourage managers to work with their direct reports on creating goals? Talk to managers about how they can encourage employees on how to create goals. (This article for managers and this one for employees are a good start.)

What goal-setting resources can you give employees?

What type of goal-setting tools do you want them to use -- OKRs, SMART goals, etc.? (If you want to learn more about the OKR methodology, here's even more information.) Tell your managers and department heads to be clear on this when they talk to their direct reports or departments on how to create goals. What goals need to be based in process? What’re more reach? How do they align with the company’s objectives?

What kind of visibility do you want for these goals?

While everyone in the company should know the company’s goals, they might not need to know all of each other’s goals. Perhaps some should only be known within a department, while others should be kept on teams, while still others should stay between direct report and manager. Make sure your employees know what options they have when it comes to setting goals.

How did setting goals work the last time?

Last time you got the company to set goals, how did it work out? What were the wins, what were the losses, what goals petered out and would need to be set aside, which goals changed mid-cycle? Understanding this, if you have the information, can inform all the other questions asked before it. Unfortunately, this can be the hardest thing to keep track of! One way might be doing it via discussions via department head or managers, to see how goal-setting has worked for them in the past. Another way might be asking questions on it in engagement or pulse surveys. Still another way might be talking to department heads after a performance review, to understand how goals came up in those conversations.

What might be even better is having a tool that keeps track of how goals across a company have fared in terms of success and ownership. Find out more about how Lattice helps you keep track of goals and find the answers to the above questions more easily.