How to Align Employee & Business Goals with Performance Management

Posted by Julie • January 5, 2017 (Last modified September 4, 2019) • 3 min read

Achieving alignment between your performance management software and your company’s goals doesn’t happen with a few minor tweaks. It takes a full top-to-bottom transformation. Employees need to be working toward something—for the company, and for themselves, and they need to understand what that something is. Alignment between performance management and goals needs to happen during onboarding, off boarding, and everywhere in between. Performance management is going to either make or break your success.


#1 Start at the beginning with onboarding.

The cold hard truth is that 22% of companies have no formal onboarding program. This is unfortunate, because the first 90 days of employment are critical for the employee to develop rapport with the company, management, and their co-workers. It’s during this time, that you as their manager get to know what the employee’s wants and goals are—and how those fit in with yours, and the company’s. Without an onboarding program, none of this can happen.


Tip: Team-building exercises can help speed up the process of getting to know your new employee. Did you know that 67% of employees believe their colleagues can encourage them do their jobs better?


When it’s clear to a new hire how their work will contribute to the company’s goals, they can easily see why their work matters. In addition, onboarding sets expectations for the employee, as well as the manager. When this initiative Is in place from onboarding forward, everyone starts out more aligned and more productive.


#2 Clearly define your goals.

You can’t expect employees to magically know what their company’s goals are from the get go. During onboarding, a performance review, or even a lunch, you need to sit down with the employee and discuss both their goals, and the company’s goals, and how they align.


When you talk about goals, make sure the employee and you come to an agreement about how all the goals will work together. Only 51% of team members say they have a clear sense of how major initiatives and priorities fit together—too few to truly achieve alignment. In order to be successful, employees need to be able to look at the big picture and understand where they fit in it.


#3 Be clear, be transparent, and keep no secrets.

According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 25% of employees don’t trust their employer. If you want to maintain an engaged workforce, organizational transparency is a must. Unless there’s personal or private information involved, nothing in your company should be a secret.


Tip: If you don’t know something, don’t try to fake it. Pretending to know something that you don’t will negatively affect transparency.


You don’t need to announce everything in the employee’s face, but the information does need to be available to them. In fact, 50% of employees feel that their organizations are held back by a lack of transparency.


#4 Be available—always!

This is probably old news to you, but in order to understand your employees you have to actually spend time with them. Getting to know an employee and maintaining that relationship doesn’t happen over night – it happens with constant and continuous open communication.


A study by The McKinsey Global Institute found that productivity increases by 20-25% in organizations with connected employees. Open communication fosters trust, which encourages transparency… see how this all fits together? In addition, open communication allows for frequent dialogue about goals, objectives, strategies, and values.


Aligning goals and performance management isn’t a one-and-done scenario. It’s ongoing. Even after an employee is initially aligned, it takes maintenance to keep things moving in the right direction; every day where you directly work with your employees, you’re increasing and maintaining that alignment. If you’re finding it hard to keep open communication and transparency in your day-to-day, it might be time to look at a continuous performance management system.


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