Employees Need Clear Goals and Constructive Feedback

HR training specialists

One of the more frequent questions I hear as an HR advisor is how best to motivate employees. Motivation can be a problem in a world in which automation and technology can do so much for us. Still, a workforce needs to be motivated if it is to be productive.

There are a lot of things that could be discussed in this regard. From offering competitive pay to giving employees more flexible work schedules, motivation comes in many forms. But perhaps nothing is as effective as providing employees clear goals followed by constructive feedback.

Human beings are a species that thrive on accomplishing things. In the past, we have built pyramids, travelled to the moon, and battled sickness and disease at an epidemic scale. Without goals to achieve, people languish in what could have been had they known what it was they wanted to do.

Short- and Long-Term Goals

My role as an HR and employee relations advisor gives me the opportunity to observe a lot of workplace environments. I've noticed the ones that seem the most productive are those in which workers have both short- and long-term. That's because both are necessary.

Short-term goals keep workers on track in the moment and for that day. Goals might include things like a list of daily tasks, a schedule of meetings to be attended, and so on. Short-term goals help to keep the day organised and purposeful from start to finish. However, the long-term goals are what provide a meaningful motivation.

Long-term goals give meaning to daily tasks by giving workers something to strive for. Consider software development, for example. One long-term goal may be to have the first beta version ready for A/B testing in six months while another targets a date a few months after that for launch. Progress can be charted on a weekly basis to help team members stay on track.

The point of both long- and short-term goals is to give workers a sense of contribution. If they believe that what they do every day makes no meaningful contribution to the company, there is no incentive to do the best job possible, or even to care.

Constructive Feedback Is Necessary

Establishing goals for employees motivates them to get going. But what keeps them going? Constructive feedback. Yes, employees need to know how they are doing compared to the goals they are trying to reach. Employee appraisals represent one way to offer that feedback. But even brief, weekly meetings that bring the entire team together for feedback and suggestions can help.

One of the foundational principles of employee relations consulting is that of helping clients understand the human side of their employees. In other words, workers are not just resources; they are people. As such, they need clear goals and constructive feedback.

Clear goals create purpose. Constructive feedback gives direction by keeping purpose in sight as both short- and long-term goals are achieved. When all is said and done, a motivated organisation emerges.

To discuss any particular HR training or employee relations issues with me, please contact me via my quick contact form on this page. I offer my professional services as an HR advisor and employee relations consultant across the Thames Valley region, the Home Counties and throughout the Greater London area.

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Author: Robin Rhodes