The Most Important Process for Workplace Productivity

How can you increase productivity, improve communication, and deliver better business results with just one simple process? I recently spoke with Andre Lavoie about how to truly maximize the value of performance management. Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, a real-time talent alignment platform that helps companies connect all aspects of talent management to their business strategy.

Almost all organizations do a formal performance review and set annual strategic objectives. Your team probably sets annual goals. If these three processes are not in full and visible alignment, you have a real opportunity to improve collaboration, maximize productivity, and deliver real business value.

The key is that everyone on your team (better yet, everyone in the organization) must understand and be contributing to the company’s most important organizational goals. Andre helps us understand how to make that happen:

Eva Rykrsmith: What are some best practices in goal-setting and performance management?

Andre Lavoie:

  1. Goals must be aligned throughout the organization. An individual’s goals should be in support of their manager, whose goals should continue to ladder up to the company’s current strategic goals.
  2. Empower your people to take ownership of their own workflow. Use real-time tracking, allowing your team to keep tabs on their own efforts and see how their contributions add to important organizational objectives.
  3. Make goals an essential part of every task. Help your team understand how and why their work matters. If they can easily track their workflow up and down the corporate hierarchy, they’ll be able to see how their daily efforts contribute to large-scale company goals.

ER: When goal-setting for the upcoming year, how can you connect strategic objectives to operational metrics?

AL: Think about the OGSM model: Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measures.

  • Objectives are why you are doing business. These are the same as your three to five year plan and can be placed in the stratosphere with your mission and vision.
  • Next come your goals. These are what you are going to do. They have a shorter time frame and should be what is actually cascaded through the organization and what should ultimately ladder up to your why.
  • Strategies are tactical plans related to how you will accomplish the goal.
  • Measures are the metrics of the goals and strategies that will tell you if you are getting closer to actually accomplishing your strategic objectives.

ER: How can managers create alignment between individual goals and business objectives? To what extent should leaders set their employees’ goals for them?

AL: There should be a real collaboration in this process. While an employee’s goals must contribute to not only those of their manager, but also the overall company strategy, they should also be personal. Rather than blindly communicating goals, we recommend that teams, departments, or entire companies have goal-setting sessions at least annually. During the session, leadership presents their goals and directives, and team members are able to meet with their management and discuss how they plan to reach success. At the end of the session, everyone is clear on not only what the goals are, but also how they are going to get there.

Instead of micromanaging employees, managers should instead empower their team to take ownership of their own work. A real-time tracking tool frees up managers from standing over an employee’s shoulder, allowing the team member to track their own workflow and see how their tasks link up to overall objectives.

Managers should be viewing how employees are progressing and communicating the importance of certain organizational goals. As a manager, it should be your goal to assist your team and help contextualize goals so everyone understands the importance of their contributions. Individual goals will likely be different, but as long as everyone is in pursuit of a common goal, you will be on track.

ER: How can organizations ensure that employees’ goals are aligned across silos?

AL: The most important step is to ensure everyone can visualize and understand where your company is headed. That may sound a bit obvious, but a recent survey by Dale Carnegie found that 44% of workers, while generally familiar with company goals, were unable to name them.

If employees across silos and disciplines can see the workflow of the whole organization, they can better understand how their individual contributions are having an impact. This ensures your human capital is appropriately allocated and that work is not cascading in the wrong direction.

ER: What are the benefits of visibility of goals across the organization?

AL:

  • Increased transparency into goals makes it easier to ensure workflow is aligned
  • Increased likelihood that your employees are working on the right things at the right time
  • Helps your team be more productive and to focus this productivity in the right direction
  • Greater ability to improve the morale of your workforce and engage your team
  • By keeping everyone in the loop, you make your whole team feel important and valued
  • Give your company culture a transparency boost.















Eva Rykrsmith

Eva Rykrsmith is an organizational psychology practitioner. Her passion lies in bringing a psychology perspective to the business world, with the mission of creating a high-performance environment. Follow her @EvaRykr.

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