My Top 5 Practices for Goal Setting in the Workplace

Effective performance management depends on effective goalsetting, research shows that when employees feel connected to organisational goals and their own needs, their performance increases by 22%.


The bad news is that only one third of senior managers can name the companies top priorities, and just 16% of frontline employees have a clear understanding of the connection with the company’s priorities.

Author: Nicky Forster

There is often a disconnect between what individuals are working towards and what is actually required to meet organisational objectives, correctly applied the goal setting process offers a great opportunity to communicate strategic alignment and help each team member to understand how they can play a role to support organisational objectives.


Goalsetting is meant to help, it is meant to give clarity to a company’s vision, but all too often the delivery and understanding of these are poorly conveyed, misunderstood, not acted upon and as a result, employees feel disconnected from their organisational goals.


Here are my top five best practices for organisational goal setting, follow these to ensure goalsetting is understood, aligned, and delivered to deliver increased organisational performance.


  1. Understand your goals

Before creating a plan for strategic alignment, it’s important to understand the long-term goals and objectives of your organization. To do this, make the long-term vision as simple as possible, some of the most successful companies have simple visions.



‘To develop the perfect search engine’



‘To be the world’s best quick service restaurant’



‘To be earths most customer centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy’


So, Keep is short, keep it simple.


Once the vision has been created, a mission statement can be shared outlining what the organisation does, who it serves, and how it serves them.

  1. Link them to daily tasks with goalsetting frame works

Whether you use SMART goals OKR’s or KPI’s, they all effectively do the same thing, they link the companies Vison and Mission to daily tasks. They link the big picture to the employee’s daily actions, and no matter what level the employee is at, they should be able to understand exactly how their efforts feed into the bigger picture. Often businesses will go straight from their mission statement to daily tasks, the result, blurred lines which fails to link the two together.


3.    Make goal setting collaborative

Transform goal setting from a solo activity to a team activity. This ensures that all employees feel part of the process and completely understand company goals.

When my former employer Reading Football Club appointed Alan Pardew as a new manager in 1999, the first thing he did was bring everyone into a meeting and set some clearly defined goals. In that meeting were his staff, the chairman John Madejski, The Chief Executive Nigel Howe, the players, the physios, the masseuse, the chef, the kit man, the groundsman, everyone who played a part in the vision to take an underperforming club to a higher level.

When employees feel intrinsically linked to these, they are more inclined to provide ideas and innovative techniques for achieving organization goals and developing methods and practices that best align with company missions.

They understand that there is a proven link towards the company’s success and their own professional development.


  1. Align and Assess weekly

One question I’m asked more than any other when setting goals in an organisation, is how often do we check in on our goals. The answer to this is simple, as frequently as possible whilst remaining consistent with the check-ins throughout the length of the goal.

So, if any goal, professional or personal is a one-year goal then it would be unrealistic to think that we can check in every hour, and a goal that is just for weeks, checking in fortnightly would not be enough. We need to check in as regularly as we can, at a time when the workplace is changing faster than ever before, with more employees working remotely or hybrid, I believe that goals should be shorter in length. In today’s working environment, three and five-year goals don’t keep up with the changing pace of business. One-year goals broken down into quarterly steps, linked to KPIs would be my preferred roadmap to organisational success. Weekly check ins would make sure that alignment and that the goals remain valid, relevant.


  1. Celebrate successes

There is nothing better in life for being rewarded for a positive action you have taken, its proven to make us feel good about ourselves.

Financial bonuses are useful but don’t connect nearly as well as personal praise, little gestures to either an individual or a team go a long way in making them intrinsically feel part of the organisation’s progression.

When speaking with on online client of mine recently, he noted how happy was with his team of software engineers having delivered on an important project both ahead of time and with increased productivity.

I asked, “how are you going to celebrate the success”

“They’re all working remotely currently so a night out or a group coffee is out of the question”

“So how are you going to get round that?”

His solution

He sent everyone a Starbucks voucher, landing on their doormat the following Monday morning, and then held an online coffee catch up chat on Friday afternoon, within working time for 30 minutes at the end of the day when no work-related discussions were had, simply, well done and let’s celebrate the success.


FINAL NOTE: Goalsetting frameworks are designed to simplify the process, too many people make the process of goalsetting far too complicated with an overload of information creating a state of paralysis by analysis.

Business is tough enough without added stress, so simplify and make your use of these tools clear, concise, and collective.


For advice on how to set goals within your organisation contact me for details –


Be the best version of you

Your journey to a brighter future starts here

Let’s do it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *