There is a lot of talk about employee and career goals, but neither are effective if they are not being tied back to the company’s overall strategy and vision. Communicating the company’s goals in the beginning and then aligning individual goals towards the attainment of that goal prevents wasted effort and allows the contributions of each employee to be maximized. Therefore, it is important there is a meeting at least once a year where top executives revisit the company’s mission and work on developing a strategy and a subsequent plan for the upcoming review period. Consistently reviewing the company’s objectives allows changes to the long-term strategy to be accounted for and accurately reflected in the company’s plan.
In the startup world, we are always taught to “move fast and break things” or, “done is better than perfect”, both of which are mottos of Facebook, but there is always wisdom in using proven methodologies to evaluate and effectively plan strategy and goals.
Some key steps in tying individual employee goals to company strategy:
- Lay out your vision and mission
In many companies, matured employees do not remember the company’s vision and/or mission and new employees do not know if it was mentioned to them in the interview process. Having a clear mission statement that is easily accessible to all employees serves as a reminder of the company’s core purpose. Our mission at HelloTeam is simple: We want every organization to have an engaged, connected and inspired workforce and we believe that people who are seen, heard and valued drive organizational success. Everytime we think about adding a new feature, product or introduce a new initiative, we revisit this mission statement to ensure that the addition still aligns with our company’s goals. Having a clear mission statement that is easily accessible to all employees lays a strong foundation from which you can better build a strategy roadmap to achieve your vision.
- Build a high level strategy map
Without a crisp, well-defined strategy map, employees will find it difficult to come up with their quarterly goals or OKRs. An effective strategy map should express the high level outcomes that you want to see happen within a 1-3 year span. Considering that the average tenure for millennials is 1.5 years and for generation X that trend is declining, strategy maps stretching for more than 3 years can inhibit the company’s ability to easily adapt to the changing market. On the other end, strategy maps should not be less than one year because their aim is to focus on big picture priorities rather than tactical matters. In order to properly build out a strategy, a SWOT analysis should be developed for the company itself and each of its major functions.
- Develop a detailed plan using a goal methodology
There are a variety of goal setting practices such as MBOs, KPIs, SMART(ER) or OKRs and the method that you adopt should largely depend on the culture of your company. Setting clear goals at the employee level that support your strategic map and are aligned with the mission of the company help an employees’ understanding of the business, which increases engagement, productivity and employee loyalty. According to research conducted by Deloitte, “organizations that make it easy for employees to set clear goals and have ongoing management of those goals were four times more likely to score in the top 25% of business outcomes”, proving the effectiveness of using goal setting methodologies.For more on the different types of goal methodologies and which may be the best fit for your company, check out our recent blog post on goal setting HERE.
- Goals Management: How to Create Professional Goals
A majority of the world’s most successful companies leverage one of the major goal methodologies to provide a framework for achieving success. Goals give employers a means to both evaluate an employee’s contributions, as well as provide an employee with guidance on what is expected of them. While goals are beneficial to both the employer and the employee, it is vital that the framework selected aligns with the company’s culture. Below, we will discuss some overall recommendations for creating professional goals, as well as a more specific plan for one of the most universal positions in business, the Sales Development Representative.
- Recommendations for Creating Professional Goals:
- Use a methodology that aligns with the company’s culture and employees are comfortable with. Some examples of applicable methodologies include: Management by Objectives (MBOs), Objectives Key Results (OKRs), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and SMART goals.
- Create 3-5 clear, specific and measurable goals that can be answered with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ at the end of the measured time period.
- Set an appropriate time period for accomplishing the activity, whether it be daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. We recommend quarterly goals being the longest time period, in order to maintain employee engagement and motivation towards goal attainment. If you are planning for a project, break it down into parts that can be accomplished within the allotted time frame.
- Depending on the methodology selected, determine if the goals should be aspirational or realistic. Including at least one or two aspirational goals has been shown to improve employee productivity, motivation and engagement.
- Decide if goals will be transparent or private. Will you share the goals company-wide or keep them between employee and manager?
- Optional: Encourage employees to set a goal related to their personal career development such as meeting with a mentor, taking a training class or completing a job rotation in another department.
While all of these goals need to be modified to fit the individual company’s needs, below is an application of professional goals to the specific job role of the Sales Development Representative.
Example Goals: Sales Development Representative
- Activity: Research and add 500 new prospects to the CRM weekly
- Activity: Make 50 outbound calls a day to prospects
- Activity: Send 50 outbound emails a day to prospects
- Activity: Hold 5 quality conversations with prospects per day
- Outcome: Set up 5 introduction meetings a week
- Outcome: Create 5 qualified opportunities a week
- Shadow an account executive at 2 demonstrations this month
- Take an inside sales class
Once the employee’s goals are established, it is important to note the necessary tools and skills needed to achieve those goals. Doing so ensures that employees have the support they need to reach their goals.
Skills: Sales Development Representative
- Outbound prospecting
- Outbound prospecting
- Contact database research
- Appointment setting
- Prospect qualification
- Trade show assistance
Tools: Sales Development Representative
- CRM: SalesForce, Hubspot, SugarCRM
- Communications Solutions: WebEx, LogMeIn, Join
- Prospecting: Zoominfo, Datanyze, InsideSales.com
In addition to goal setting and empowering employees with the necessary skills and tools to reach their goals, it is helpful to understand a likely career path for someone in the position. Lack of career development is the number one reason employees leave an organization, so having a clear vision of where an employee would be able to grow and develop will help drive retention. For example, a likely career path for a Sales Development Representative would include the following positions: Junior SDR, Associate SDR, Senior SDR, SDR Manager, SDR to Inside Sales Account Executive (AE, ISR) and Outside Sales Representative (Enterprise Sales Representative).
Other important job factors to note in order to drive retention and employee engagement are average tenure and suggested promotion timelines. For example, the average tenure of a Sales Development Representative is 14 year and it is suggested that promotions into one of the above career path roles takes place at 1.3 years. Understanding these additional factors, allow business leaders to proactively make decisions about promotions and employee career development.
Across all business types and roles, it is imperative that the company establishes a framework for setting professional goals. There are a variety of platforms on the market, including ours, that address this need. Interested in a free 30-day supported trial? We will guide you through the set-up process and ensure that you can begin using our goals management module ASAP!