Goal-setting is an essential practice for companies, enabling them to go beyond their financial objectives towards the realization of their vision. Objectives provide clear direction and define what is expected of employees. By setting specific, measurable targets, a company will mobilize its resources and direct its efforts towards achieving tangible results.
Employees, for their part, will focus their efforts on what is measured and recognized, leaving aside what may be part of the company’s vision, but is not included in the targets. The setting of objectives must therefore be carried out with care and precision to avoid any negative effects on company performance and employee motivation.
For example, a company aiming to have a positive impact on the environment and society should be sure to clarify its expectations precisely when formulating objectives. It will be important to align objectives with the company’s vision and mission. Objectives must be consistent with the organization’s overall direction. They must also be specific and measurable, so that results can be evaluated objectively. As we have all experienced, vague or overly general objectives can lead to confusion and a lack of clarity as to expectations.
In the vast majority of companies, the main objectives are calculated by the finance departments and are linked to growth and financial results. CSR objectives, if any, are often relegated to the end of the form, and represent only a small part of the bonus calculation, if any.
A company that sincerely wishes to have an impact on its environment will ask its CSR department to set individual objectives in equal collaboration with its finance department. Objectives must be realistic and achievable. Setting unrealistic objectives can lead to excessive pressure on employees, pushing them to adopt risky behavior or sacrifice what is essential to achieve the desired results. It is therefore crucial to take into account available resources, market constraints and employee skills when setting objectives. Responsible goal-setting, in line with the company’s publicly communicated vision, will help avoid the harmful practices of green and rainbow-washing.
Managers need to be able to effectively communicate expectations, support employees and guide them in achieving their goals. Feedback helps to adjust objectives where necessary, recognize progress and motivate employees to maintain their commitment.
By adopting a balanced, thoughtful and strategic approach to goal-setting, companies can stimulate motivation, foster growth and contribute to positively impacting their environment, in full coherence with their corporate rhetoric.