Goal-setting lags how work gets done

Current goal-setting practices often fail to align with the way work gets done. In fact, Gartner research finds three barriers to effective goal setting:

  • Diverse work makes strategic alignment harder. The workplace is changing fast. More employees work remotely and the gig economy is growing, at the same time that work is becoming more specialized. A recent Gartner survey found that 68% of leaders agree that only staff with a highly specialized mix of competencies and experience can successfully perform the work they need. As a result, an increasing number of employees feel disconnected from their organization’s goals. In 2019, 47% of employees reported understanding the broader goals of their organization and how their daily work connects to company success, down from 54% in 2012.
  • Individual goal setting overlooks team-based work. Work today is more team-based than ever. According to Gartner’s 2019 Gartner Performance Management Benchmarking Survey, 82% of employees work closely with their colleagues and 73% check in or work with other colleagues. And yet just 3% of organizations involve peers in the goal-setting process, and only 20% involve teams.
  • Annual goal setting doesn’t keep up. Nearly 40% of employees feel that their current roles are evolving rapidly and that they need to learn new skills and new ways of working with people to support changing business priorities. Despite the pace and extent of these changes, goal setting remains an annual activity for most organizations and fails to take into account the dynamism of most corporate strategies. As business needs and outcomes evolve, so must goal-setting processes.