Social media sites (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and the like) connect us online. Yet while our personal experiences seem to be more closely linked than ever, our work experiences are still fragmented and siloed.

Harvard professors and co-authors Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton found, “A mere 7% of employees today fully understand their company’s business strategies and what’s expected of them in order to help achieve company goals.”

If you don’t believe them, just ask your colleagues. Do your peers have any idea what you’re focused on every day, or how it fits into the broader goals of what your business is trying to achieve? More important, do you?

Today’s best practices for setting, tracking and managing goals are based on Goal Science™ thinking. Goal Science thinking enhances existing goal-setting principles like SMART, and helps individuals set and pursue their goals more effectively. It is inspired by leading academic research, consumer engagement techniques, and data from the BetterWorks platform. We believe in five core Goal Science pillars: connected, supported, adaptable, progress-based and aspirational. Each provides insight into the who, what, when, how and why behind effective goal setting.

Because each attribute is important on its own, we have built (and continue to build) capabilities into our enterprise software platform that support Goal Science thinking, while simplifying enterprise goal management.

Here’s how BetterWorks ensures your goals are yours to create and own, but are connected to others in the organization—top to bottom, bottom to top, and cross functionally—too:

  • Managers can create goals that cascade top-down.

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  • Individuals can set goals and milestones from the bottom up.

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  • Any individual or manager related to a goal can assign that goal to a peer or manager on another team, across the organization.

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Employees can also view and create goals directly from their mobile devices, so now employees can be in the loop wherever they are.

 

  • Any individual or manager can manage goals on their iPhone or Android device.

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If you think about a product organization, connected goals might look something like this:

  • The manager of the product team sets a goal: Ship the product by the last day of Q2.
  • Employees working for that manager (engineering team members, for example) then create goals that flow back up into that manager’s goals: Include three new features in the product shipping by the last day of Q2.
  • Once the first new feature is built, either an engineer or the manager then assigns a goal to the quality assurance team member—a cross-functional team—to implement the testing plan for the new feature.

UpWind Solutions CEO, Peter Wells, uses connected features in BetterWorks to see how his staff is driving objectives and key results (OKRs) down through their organizations. He can also see how his leadership team is allocating goals—whether they are dispersed evenly or whether a leader is putting too much pressure on or expecting too much from one or two key individuals. Every employee at UpWind Solutions has access to the BetterWorks platform and Wells is pleased to see leadership team and individual employee engagement growing:

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Stats from UpWind Solutions.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Phil Potloff, chief operating officer at Edmunds.com, said “People always say: how does my work contribute to the larger purpose of the organization? It’s a difficult message to be consistent about with so many different things going on.” Edumunds.com shares OKRs across the company using BetterWorks, which helps employees understand how their priorities are aligned with those of the business.

Connected goals are important because they help ensure greater alignment across your business, and foster a culture of support and openness. But they do more than get everyone on the same page.

A Gallup poll found that “knowing what is expected of me” is the single most important work life trait. Connected employees feel more empowered and engaged. Their efforts become more intrinsically motivated—completing tasks because they enjoy the activity not because they will receive an external reward. Individuals who are intrinsically motivated also achieve more when they help shape their own goals and connect them to an internal sense of what they can do to make the biggest impact for the business.

Employees want to feel connected both personally and professionally. BetterWorks can help get and keep them connected. Watch the demo to learn more.

Note – This is part 1 in our series highlighting how the attributes of the five Goal Science pillars are built into the BetterWorks platform. Stay tuned to learn how BetterWorks supports employees at work.