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4 Ways Business Leaders Can Support Their Employees' Goals


Over the past two years, we have all watched the evolutionary processes in the workplace brought about by the Great Resignation. Take flexible working hours, for example. They are now the norm in many industries that claimed jobs couldn’t be done well remotely. However, one result of the mass employee exodus has yet to be explored and examined: how to help employees feel that their work matters.

Do employees really care if they progress in some way? According to research, yes. Of those who left their jobs in 2021, the Pew Research Center found that 63% cited no path to advancement as the reason. In other words, they had no way to achieve their goals in their business. So they left in the hope of finding new employers who would not thwart their growth.

If you’re a leader, you have to pay attention to numbers like these. Even if your team members seem content and aren’t quietly giving up, they may still feel like they’re skating. In this case, they might not be members of your team for a very long time.

Rather than risk avoidable attrition, consider implementing the following management strategies. Each is designed to transform your workplace into a space where employees can name, claim and exceed their personal goals.

1. Recognize and accept that everyone has different goals: Tonya Towles, Founder and CEO of Team PCS Pro

You already know your personal goals as an entrepreneur, CEO or leader. Don’t assume that all of your employees share your goals. It’s a huge mistake, but it’s one that many very successful artists make. What makes it so potentially disastrous? You’ll get the carrot wrong and you won’t realize that your employees lack inspiration until it’s too late.

Tonya Towles, Founder and CEO of The PCS Pro Team, admits that realizing her team members didn’t share her big goals was a revelation. However, she used this realization to improve the way she leads others. “My mother had an expression,” she explains. “’If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.’ Everyone’s contentment or success is not the same. Remove bias from what you think is a good lens. Who wouldn’t want to win a million dollars? It surprised me when someone told me they hadn’t.

The best way to find out your employees’ goals is to ask. Of course, as the boss, you may not have time to do this with every person. Ask supervisors to discuss personal goals with their direct reports. The more you know, the more you can help everyone around you grow.

2. Letting Team Members Make Mistakes: Melanie Clark, CMO at Abstrakt Marketing Group

Have you made many missteps in your career? Sure. We all have. That’s how we make discoveries. Those of us who are lucky end up not repeating the same mistakes twice. And those of us who are really lucky end up working in companies where mistakes go unpunished.

How can you make sure your team members know that tripping is okay? Melanie Clark, CMO at Abstrakt Marketing Group, has an answer: provide support so employees feel comfortable stretching. “Whether it’s emphasizing the importance of risk-taking or encouraging team members to speak up and take ownership, we’ve managed to develop a corporate culture that rewards ambition and creativity,” says Clark. “When I took office, I knew that it was up to me to set the tone. We had to be ready to take risks and serve as role models for our teams. This meant encouraging them to take ownership of the projects. It also meant providing support when things didn’t go as planned.

The fact is, you can’t tell your employees, “We’re helping you achieve your goals,” if you don’t let anyone fail. Victories are great, but failures can become stepping stones to greatness. Everyone has heard that Thomas Edison’s journey of inventing the light bulb was a slow and arduous process of experimentation. The reason was simple: Edison knew that to get closer to his goal, he had to crack a few eggs (or bulbs!).

3. Check in with employees to review their goals: Kelly Knight, Integrator and President of EOS Worldwide

Are you still focused on accomplishing the same goals you had 10 years ago? Five years ago? Last year? Probably not. So try not to fall into the trap of thinking that your employees won’t change their goals either. They will – and won’t necessarily tell you if you don’t ask.

That’s why Kelly Knight, integrator and president at EOS Worldwide, makes sure that all managers have quarterly check-ins with their team members. Meetings allow both parties to ensure that they are on the same page. “It’s imperative to listen to your team members during this conversation,” Knight notes. “They want to feel heard and valued. Give team members space to be honest about their professional goals and dreams. It builds trust. Once trust is established, there can be an increased openness to explore how this person is working toward their goals.

It’s okay if you find that employees are reluctant to talk openly about what they want to accomplish during their first audits. Give them time. When they see that it’s safe to say, “I want to be a manager” or “I’d like to learn the skills to transfer to another department,” they’ll start to open up. And you can help them grow from there.

4. Show employees how their innovation, creativity and hard work can pay off: Suzanne Bates, General Manager of BTS Boston

Do you give regular raises? Specials? If so, do they happen occasionally or is there a structured path employees can take to move up the ladder? Suzanne Bates, general manager of BTS Boston, believes that one of the key ingredients in motivating workers to set and achieve goals is showing them how they will be rewarded once they hit various milestones.

Bates says his company’s “clear, globally aligned, and made transparent performance and promotion benchmarks” at his company have been a big reason team members have been able to achieve personal success. “Within the criteria, there are many developmental goals that provide opportunities for people to demonstrate their abilities through critical experience and exposure,” says Bates.

Now is a great time to draw this type of “ladder of success” in your business. When employees can see where they are, they can see what they need to do to improve. Because you’ll be designing the framework for this ladder, you can be sure it aligns with your organization’s overall goals. Everything connects and everyone wins.

Each of your employees has multiple personal and professional objectives. As an employer, you are able to guide and guide them to their northern stars. And your reward will be happier workers who feel good about their contributions.




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