Based on new research from search platform Comparably, having unclear goals is the No. 1 source of stress at work. Rounding out the top stressors? Commuting, a bad boss, no room to move up in the organization, and long hours on the job. In addition to causing employees to get stressed out, unclear goals also drives employee disengagement.
Why? Because when a person doesn’t know what they are working toward, they do not feel they are adding value, making a difference, or connected to something bigger than themselves, and these three things are necessary in order for an employee to feel an emotional connection to the organization (i.e. – be engaged).
The most effective way to set organizational goals is for the CEO to lay out the top five most important objectives for the next year, which are then communicated to employees. Employees then write individual goals that are based off of the CEO’s five goals. When you follow this straight-forward process, employees have clear goals that align with the CEOs, which enables people to understand exactly what they are working toward.
The benefits? Less stress on employees and an entire workforce of people working toward a common set of objectives that will help ensure the organization’s long-term success. Priceless.
WHAT CAN I DO? Investigate the goal setting process in your company. The vast majority of organizations do not follow this model, so by stepping up and helping to re-invent this process in your firm, you have an opportunity to drive change and improve your culture. In addition, urge your organization’s leaders to set goals in Q4, so everyone is ready to hit the ground running in Q1. Too many organizations don’t finalize goals until the end of Q1, which means you’ve lost three month in which to achieve your objectives. Don’t let this happen to you.