A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

How Does Your Company Set Goals?

A few years ago we began conducting an annual goals workshop at my company.  In many ways this workshop is really about communication.  Our office has approximately 80 folks.  Having a meeting with 80 people can be a bit challenging.  But we persevere because we have our own goal: learning how to ask.

“What do you think we should focus on in 2012?  What are the things that are keeping you from doing your job?  What can we do to help you achieve your goals?”

The goal setting meeting affords us an opportunity to listen and learn.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  Our leadership team is comprised of folks who are used to getting things done.  No time to talk about why we “have always done it this way”.  But our goal setting meetings have changed that.

I should clarify here that this process did not come quickly.  We still have a few folks that are uncomfortable being asked, and a few cynics who are hard to convince.  But again, we persevere because we know that our future depends on these folks.  Our ability to grow and develop new skills, and our ability to provide what we need in order to do our jobs, will determine our success.

So what goals did our group set for 2012?  Most have a lot to do with our ability to personally impact the business – to share information, skills, and experiences.  We also want the tools to communicate and share best practices with our co-workers across our departments and branches.

Some specifics include improving the speed and timeliness of information on projects by leveraging technology.  We want the ability to quickly disseminate information and react to the needs of the customer.  And there was a lot of discussion about establishing a more formal mentoring program for our up-and-coming professionals.  Our folks want a forum where they can interact with the management team and become more involved in problem solving and decision making.

We also set goals around transferring knowledge from one generation to the next and leveraging the wealth of experience and abundance of energy of our multigenerational workforce.

Our annual goal setting workshop is designed to engage our entire workforce in the process of prioritizing where we spend our time and resources and in teaching our leaders how to ask.

Does your company have an innovative way of engaging your workforce in the goal setting process?  If so, I would love to hear about it.

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