Meaningful connections between an employee’s job and the overall company mission make work fulfilling. At times, these connections are clear. At other times, these connections are vague or uncommunicated… in the worst cases- they don’t even exist!
The connection between an employee’s day-to-day job and the overall company mission is important for the functionality of your company and to keep employee morale high. When people understand the part they play in a bigger mission that they care about, their jobs become more interesting, engaging, and motivating. Here are three tips for aligning employee goals with company objectives:
Step one: Work top to bottom.
For jobs to be meaningful, they must be born out of an overall company mission. Thus, when creating jobs, you must start at the top. When you start at the top, ask the question, “We have this mission, how does it get accomplished?” On the contrary, when you start at the bottom, ask the question, “We have these people, what should they do?”
I recently talked to a good friend who works a strict 8-5, 5-days-a-week schedule, however, she feels that there really isn’t enough work for her to fill her time. Her boss finds little things for her to do that seem irrelevant, but she ultimately still has loads of time on her hands. In this particular workplace, the mark of a successful worker is on being in the office 8-5, not completing a job that serves a broader mission. This is a common negative side effect of working bottom to top rather than top to bottom. When you work from the bottom to the top, you create work that isn’t thoughtfully planned to meet company objectives, and employees feel less purposeful at work.
Working top to bottom means that you start with the organizational mission. Break that mission into company objectives, and sort those objectives into departments. From there, you can create performance objectives for people. These performance objectives did not arise out of thin air. They were carefully and intentionally designed to play a part in the overall organizational mission. They were born out of the mission. When you work from top to bottom, you are better equipped to create roles that are meaningful.
Step two: Be mission-minded.
As a leader, it’s important to keep the overall company mission in mind and think creatively about how your team can serve that mission.
Sarah works in the accounting department. She tells her boss that she has experience in planning events, and would like to use that at work in some way. Thinking narrowly and uncreatively, a manager would politely turn this request down. However, a manager who keeps the overall company mission in mind might see a way that event planning would indeed contribute to the overall company mission, all while making Sarah’s job more enjoyable for her. Mission-minded leaders are not siloed in their departments, focused on more narrow results, and disconnected from the overall company mission. Rather, mission-minded leaders think broadly and more creatively about how talent can be leveraged in unique ways to strengthen the company.
Effective coaches know how to bring out the best in their people, positioning their team to win together. The workplace is no different. A culture of coaching in the workplace leads to greater performance, engagement, retention, and revenue. We have a guide that walks you through how to turn managers into mission-minded coaches that can take your teams to the next level.
Step three: Continually communicate the bigger picture.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says this much more poetically:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
Teaching your employees to yearn for the vast and endless sea means regularly communicating the importance of the organizational mission and the part they play in accomplishing that mission. I know of a packaging manufacturing company that does this well. If you’re wondering, how do you get people excited about creating packaging? Leadership consistently shares stories of happy customers. They create environmentally-friendly products and share the positive impact of those products. They take opportunities to share their resources with the community in ways that align with the things employees care about. They give employees a reason to be proud of their jobs, and consistently remind them that they are part of a bigger mission.
To align employee goals with company objectives, work top to bottom, be mission-minded, and continually communicate the bigger picture. We all want to serve a greater purpose, and when an employee’s day-to-day work is connected to something they can get excited about, work becomes fulfilling.
Holding your people accountable to arbitrary, vague goals is like expecting them to hit a target while blindfolded. Additionally, without a clear metric of success, management is ill-equipped to coach, mentor, and train their employees. Bring clarity and a refreshed drive to perform by defining what it means to succeed in every role through crafting Performance Objectives with your employees. We have a mini guide that can help you out with that. Download it here to learn more.
We will soon be launching a platform that brings the connection between an employee’s job and the overall mission to life. Every person, project, and meeting will have a connected purpose within your organization. When these connections are visualized on a software platform, employees are consistently reminded why their work matters. Schedule a demo today to learn more about Etho, coming soon!
Meetings! Some love them. Others don’t. Either way, they are an inevitable part of any functioning organization. When led effectively, meetings are well worth the time investment. However, we all know they can easily become time-wasters and energy drainers. When we pay attention to the attendance list, form an agenda in advance, and conclude with action items, meetings can unleash new insights and promote productivity.
We’ve probably all attended meetings and had the thought, “Why am I here?” When thinking through meeting attendees, we need to take a step back and ask: Who actually needs to be at the meeting? What do I want from each person there?
Aside from wasting people’s time, more attendees in a meeting creates a “hiding-in-a-crowd” feeling and discourages participation. In addition to filtering your invite list, let people know what you want from them in a meeting. When you have a role to engage in, meetings are an honor rather than an obligation. Fewer people, who know exactly why they are at a meeting, creates an environment for productivity.
Every productive meeting has an agenda. If you’re struggling to come up with an agenda, consider whether the meeting is actually necessary! Sending out the agenda ahead of time can make your meetings more productive, particularly if you need meeting participants to brainstorm or form an opinion on an issue beforehand. If you try to introduce a complicated question in a meeting, attendees must quickly try to process the question and generate ideas. Better ideas are likely to come from more extensive processing time prior to the meeting. Capitalize on your time together by giving attendees a list of questions to ponder and investigate ahead of time.
In addition to setting an agenda, you must follow the agenda! This can be difficult if you have a particularly chatty group. As the leader, you need to set up and enforce some norms for success. Perhaps you devote the first 5 minutes of a meeting to non-business-related chatting, and then turn your attention to the purpose of the meeting. Even so, you may have people who have a difficult time staying on track. This will require you to kindly but firmly guide the group back to the relevant topics at hand. It’s the leader’s job to keep the meeting focused on the agenda, and many people will be grateful when you do.
End each meeting with a summary of what’s happened and a list of action items. Each action item should have a due date and a person responsible for completing it. Discuss the summary and action items at the end of the meeting, and then follow up with an email directly after the meeting ends. This provides meeting attendees with a written record and reminds them of their responsibilities.
By auditing the attendance list, setting and following an agenda, and ending with action items, you can capitalize on meeting time. Over the course of a year, following these best practices can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line. Additionally, when enough meeting leaders implement these changes, the norms and attitudes around meetings will begin to shift. Attendees will start to expect more from meetings: both to get more out of them and to bring more energy, ideas, and expertise to them.
Our Manage 4 Performance platform helps companies be more strategic about meeting time. When you join M4P you will unleash a competitive advantage through saved money, saved time, and better ideas. Book a demo today to learn more!