If You Don’t Know Your Employees’ New Year Goals, You’re Making a Huge Mistake

Sara King |

new year goals

The Huge Advantage Of Sharing New Year’s Goals With Your Staff

The start of the New Year is a great time to check in with employees and help them align their work with their personal and professional goals. In many organizations, these conversations are often limited to annual performance reviews, which can disconnect employees from those big-picture goals. This year, try something different and set employees up for success by aligning their performance, personal, and professional goals. Here’s why this strategy works.

Traditional Goal-Setting Limits Success

In most organizations, goal setting and achievement is a function of an employee’s manager. This approach makes sense, as the manager is, after all, responsible for employee performance. However, this process can be limiting. Let’s say that a developer in the IT department has the long-term career goal of becoming a systems architect. While the manager may personally support that goal, it may receive little focus as it doesn’t help the manager achieve his immediate goals. If an employee feels that his career aspirations may not be met, it raises concerns about the employee’s engagement and retention..

Managers don’t do these things out of spite. It is human nature to want to keep talented employees on one’s team. But a manager’s short term focus can detract from the long-term effectiveness of an employee. If that developer earns a Master’s Degree and sees no room for advancement within the organization, he or she will move on to other opportunities.

Proactively Avoid This Scenario: Managers And HR Together

One way to ensure that companies can help employees achieve their long-term goals and still benefit the organization is to have managers work closely with Human Resources. Together, management and HR teams can identify high-potential individuals and provide training and development opportunities for those employees. When team members see that the company invests in their growth, it builds long-term loyalty.

Rather than losing the best staff and being forced to fill a gap, a track to develop and promote high-potential employees allows HR and managers the foresight to identify and train other employees to fill the openings. When HR works strategically alongside management to help grow and develop talent, the benefits to the organization in terms of employee retention and bench strength can be exponential.

Improve Talent Retention Through Career Development Advocacy

When Human Resources teams participate in the employee development process, it gives employees an additional resource to tap when it comes to growing their careers. Some managers are extremely effective but they are not always the greatest mentors. Human Resources can connect employees with mentors on other teams or even in other departments, without causing a rift between the manager and the employee.

Human Resources can also be a valuable sounding board for employees who are talented but aren’t quite sure of their career path within the organization. They may feel less than comfortable sharing those fears with their manager, but including HR in career development conversations increases their likelihood of approaching HR at others times. In such a case, the HR representative may go back to the management team and identify ways in which they can keep that highly talented employee with the company – either though assigning them new projects, giving them cross-functional responsibilities, or training them on new skills.

When employees don’t know how to approach career development conversations with their managers, they often look outside the organization for new opportunities. Including HR in the process can give employees an alternative resource and can help the company identify talent who may be less than satisfied with their current circumstances.

How To Include HR In Employee Goal Setting Initiatives

The only way to know how an employee’s personal career goals align with the organization’s goals for that individual is to communicate.

Foster that communication with an updated worksheet. Most employees are used to filling them out for their annual review, but this process easily applies to personal career goals. Employees can fill out a self-reflection worksheet outlining their goals for both the upcoming year and the next three to five years. At the same time, their manager can fill out a similar worksheet that illustrates where they would like to see the employee in those same time frames. Together, they can compare those goals to see where they overlap and even where they disconnect.

Finally, they can take that information to the HR department, where HR staff can provide expertise in helping develop a training and development plan. This plan will help the employee get where he or she wants to go while continuing to meet his or her current responsibilities.

Make Employee Development Your New Year Goal

While this may all seem like a lot of time and effort, view it as an investment in the company’s greatest asset- its people. Employees don’t usually leave jobs because they aren’t getting paid enough. They leave because they feel unappreciated, or when there is no perceived room for growth. Aligning a talented employee’s professional goals with the needs and goals of the organization benefits all parties. The employee feels like they have a clear career path and they know their leaders support those goals. This fosters loyalty and improves retention rates, keeping talent in-house and fostering long-term business growth.

Employees have more career options than ever before. In order to retain talented individuals, organizations must be willing to invest in the growth and development of high-potential employees. When managers and HR work together, they can ensure not only that employees reach their goals, but that the organization reaches its goals, as well.

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Sara King

Sara King

Sara King has worked as a human resources executive/professional for over 20 years. Sara’s strengths lie in her ability to partner with CEO’s, understanding their business initiatives and how to couple business needs with human capital. Her areas of expertise include: strategic hiring and recruiting, organizational development, management by objectives design and implementation, mergers and acquisitions, and training design and development.