Increase employee engagement - give the gift of a personal goal

Team Management

Increase Employee Engagement - Give The Gift Of A Personal Goal: increase engagement and performance whilst improving your relationships by helping employees set a personal goal to achieve this year.

Let's face it, a key reason you go to work is to earn the money you need to be able to do what you enjoy outside of work - right? We'll here's a little secret, so do your employees / team members. Good leaders know that if they want their team(s) to make the organisation's goals, it helps if each employee understands how achieving in their job will also help them to achieve outside of work.

Increase employee engagement - give the gift of a personal goal

Personal Goals Increase Employee Engagement And Performance

In one of my previous roles, when I joined the company had a staff turnover of 45%, only 20% of consultants were meeting or beating their sales targets and staff moral, quite frankly, sucked. Employees were very focused on their professional goals, they had their KPIs reported in detail almost every day which was great for the 20% who were achieving - but for the 80% who were not, it only served to speed up the 'death spiral' of their performance and retention. People with great experience, skills and ability to offer (who had performed well elsewhere) soon lost motivation and a reason to keep having bad days - and so they left the organisation. Something had to be done and I'm pleased to say the executive agreed. Personal goal setting formed a cornerstone to the solution we implemented.

Enter Personal Goal Setting

Within 12 months, staff turnover had decreased to 10% (and remained so), 60% of consultants were achieving their budgets and an additional 20% beating their stretch budgets - increasing overall profitability exponentially. How did we do this, a great deal of credit must go to the way the leadership worked with each of their people to set personal goals and, communicate these to the rest of the team who then held their colleagues accountable for achieving them. At the beginning of each year we held a Team Day where each person gave a presentation to their peers on:

  • What they'd learned from the previous year;
  • What their personal 'big hairy audacious goal' (BHAG) was for the year ahead - and why;
  • What their professional goals were for the quarter ahead; and
  • What they were going to do (and when) to achieve these goals.

Each person then pinned these goals up on their desk as a visual reminder of what they were accountable to their team mates for achieving. This visual reminder not only helped focus the each person on their commitments, but also served as a great conversation starter for anyone calling by their work area. This helped to build stronger relationships across the organisation:

"So, how are you going towards achieving your BHAG?"

"Wow, that BHAG looks great, tell me about it"

"I see you're on track to achieving this quarter's goals, is there any way I can help you?"

"This is great, when I'm having a bad day at work, I just look at my BHAG and remember why I'm here!"

Review And Renew

We were fortunate in that the organisation's executive soon recognised the benefits of this process and allowed us to hold quarterly 'Review & Renew' team meetings where each person presented:

  • Their achievement that quarter;
  • What they'd learned and from that;
  • What goals they would achieve in the quarter ahead.

We soon learned that by doing this, team members encouraged and helped those that hadn't achieved all of their goals (but had recognised why not) and celebrated with those that had achieved.

As each person achieved the BHAG for the year, it was wonderful to hear stories of how it would not have been possible without the support of the team and the organisation. We still held people accountable for achieving their professional KPIs, but because everyone knew what these were and how they would help them to meet their personal goals, everyone was more motivated to help everyone make their professional goals so they could see them achieve outside of work too.

Of course I've over simplified this story for the purposes of this post, but I strongly suggest that if you want to increase employee engagement, performance, retention and enjoy your leadership role this year...give the gift of a personal goal to your team members.

Onwards & Upwards!



John Belchamber

Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

I have been passionate about developing people and business performance in small to medium sized businesses for over 20 years. As Founder & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results, my experience across the range of business disciplines that small business owners need to develop a better business is what attracts my clients. Be it developing website and social media strategies, or dealing with your people and performance issues. If you've got business headaches, I'm your pain relief!

Comments (4)
Mahua Das

Mahua Das, Director at Next Gen Teams

It's a great idea, John. I have recently advised someone to incorporate personal goals along with professional KPIs as a retention strategy. Your post has confirmed that this is not a crazy idea and created positive results for others. Thanks.

Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

A great article John, loved to hear these stories of success!! It's so true that constantly not meeting goals really serve to handicap even the most brightest and capable people. No matter how great you are at your job you can't escape how real these effects are, so it's always important to take tips like yours seriously. Can't wait to see your next article and learn more!

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