8 goal-oriented steps to a more engaged workforce

Employee engagement is this year’s buzzword – so much so, people are getting tired of hearing it. Buzzword or not, however, there’s no denying that an engaged employee is a productive employee. In this guest post, Andre Lavoie, CEO of ClearCompany, weighs in on real-life tactics that can lead to a committed, loyal workforce. 
According to estimates from Gallup, low engagement is costing the economy close to $550 billion annually. Is there an answer to overcoming this growing employee engagement crisis that can in turn increase productivity and satisfaction in the workforce?
Yes: a goal-based employee engagement strategy. This not only keeps entire organizations aligned and working toward the same thing, but also allows individual employees to see their personal contribution to the big picture.
Employing this strategy can help not only increase engagement, but also re-energize an otherwise tired and unenthusiastic workforce. Here are some tips to employing a goal-based engagement strategy in your organization:
1. Train managers to focus on employee communication based on goals. In order to allow goals to drive company initiatives and projects, managers must always explain how employee projects relate back to company strategy. For every new project, lay out the details of the project, expectations, and a clear vision of how it drives one or more of the company’s goals.
2. Be transparent about goals. According to a recent poll, when employees were asked what was holding their company back, nearly 50 percent noted a lack of company-wide transparency. There is nothing more critical than remaining transparent in every interaction you have with employees. Be completely transparent and honest about why goals are in place, how the company is reaching those goals, and why each employee is important in achieving them.
3. Clearly communicate goals on a regular basis. A study found 71 percent of employees feel managers don’t spend enough time communicating organizational objectives, which is a detriment to the goal-based strategy. Leadership must clearly communicate goals and updates related to them on a regular basis. This should be not only with the entire company but also within smaller teams.
4. Empower employees to translate goals and responsibilities. A recent survey by Accenture showed 31 percent of employees were unhappy with their current position due to a lack of empowerment. Show employees how their role translates to company-wide goals. Once that is clear, empower them to translate that into how they go about performing and completing each responsibility and task.
5. Ditch the politics and gossip with clear-cut goals. There is nothing worse than an office full of gossip. According the Accenture survey, internal politics cause headaches for 35 percent of your employees. When everyone is working towards the same goals and sees how every role – big or small – is contributing to those goals, the talk will stop. A goal-based focus can break down blurry lines or questionable roles, leaving no ammunition for office gossip or politics.
6. Reward and celebrate the right people. According to Accenture, 43 percent of employees were unhappy because of a lack of recognition at work. It’s critical for a successful engagement strategy to not let any great work not be noticed. A goal-based focus, coupled with real-time tracking of what’s getting done and by whom, can help you reward the right people.
7. Add a level of accountability for employees. By having employees track their own work based on company-wide and personal goals, you add a layer of accountability and transparency for the whole team. Since you can visibly see what your employees contribute, you can also be sure to reward the right people. This way, the most motivated employees are recognized for their contributions, and your whole team can see that hard work actually pays.
8. Give better feedback to get better work. By focusing on goal alignment and encouraging real-time tracking, you can see and understand what your employees are actually contributing and where they may need to improve. This gives your people ownership of their work, and allows you to focus and pinpoint your feedback so you’re addressing specific needs.
With diligence and transparency, employees will begin to take a more vested interest in the company and its success. Utilize these tips and you can begin integrating a goals-based engagement strategy in your organization today.
Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, a talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy.