Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Specializing in Employee Opinion and Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Improving the Workplace

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.

Four out of ten employees don't know the goals of their organization and fewer than half
know the steps their organization is taking to reach those goals.


This is the time of year when all employees should take stock of how well they are contributing to the goals of their organization. However, in many organizations the actual goals are:

  • Unclear; and

The plans for achieving the goals are even a bigger mystery to employees. Consequently:

  • Decisions made by employees and their supervisors are often inconsistent with the goals of the organization;

  • Different employees and departments may end up working at cross-purposes; and

  • Employees are less productive than they could be since their work is not consistent with the organization's goals.


  1. Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate!

    Communicating organizational goals is the first step in creating a goal-oriented organization. Organizational goals should be communicated to employees using multiple methods, including:

    • One-on-one meetings held by supervisors with each employee;

    • Small group meetings of work teams or departments led by middle managers;

    • All-employee meetings led by the President or CEO; and

    • Written communications such as all-employee memos and articles in the company newsletter.

  2. Communicate S.M.A.R.T Goals

    Vague organizational goals such as "exceed the expectations of our customers," "become the provider of choice in our markets," or "become profitable" are pseudo-goals that are usually ineffective motivators. Organizational goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reviewable, and Time bound. (Department and individual goals should be SMART as well.)

  3. Link Individual Goals to Organizational Goals

    SMART goals will be ineffective unless the goals of each employee are linked to them. Mired in their day-to-day work, many employees actually lose track of how they add value to their organization. The following "internal resume writing exercise" will help focus employees on how their work can and should be contributing to the organization's goals.

    Ask each employee to create a bulleted list of what he or she actually accomplished during the past year. Accomplishments are acts that create value for the organization, not job duties. Each accomplishment should begin with an action-oriented verb such as "created," "implemented," "improved," "decreased," "initiated," "sold," or "saved."

    Also instruct them to use numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts as much as possible. For example, their accomplishments should include phrases such as:

    • Increased sales by 15 percent, resulting in increased revenue of $75,000;

    • Reduced inventory 25 percent, resulting in a savings of $130,000; or

    • Created a new computerized order management system which saved the company $100,000 in potential outsourcing costs and is projected to save the company approximately $350 per month in sales lost to backorders.

    Once the list is developed, discuss with employees how they can improve the linkage between their individual goals and the goals of the organization.

So this year, become systematic about not only setting goals, but in communicating and translating them into the actions of those that will help you achieve them.

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