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RISMEDIA, January 24, 2009-As organizations prepare for annual employee goal setting sessions at the start of the New Year, SumTotal® Systems, Inc. a provider of talent development solutions, released the top 10 tips HR managers can use to drive better organizational alignment for improved performance across their company. Implementing sound, universally accepted goal setting processes, coupled with the use of an effective system for managing and tracking these processes is one of the best ways HR can contribute to an organization’s bottom line.

“With the current economic forecast, it is now more important than ever to make sure employees’ goals reflect the organization’s overall goals to ensure everyone is working toward the same mission,” said Richard Oyen, director of HR and Talent Development. “By helping to set organizational alignment, HR departments have the ability to impact their company like never before and create significant productivity improvements.”

10 best practices for employee goal setting:

1. Know the goals – HR should be involved with executives and senior management as they plan organizational goals for the year ahead to grasp the business issues and challenges which are driving the goals.
2. Get buy-in – The executive team should support HR’s efforts to align goals and help communicate the importance of the program so employees understand the executive team stands behind it.
3. Cascade goals – Once the goals are set at the top of the organization, they should work their way down in the organization.
4. Ensure consistency – As goals are being established further down in the organization, HR can assist by creating standards for goals and then monitoring for consistency.
5. Hold everyone accountable – A manager needs to make sure goals are measurable with specific deadlines and then hold employees to those dates and deliverables.
6. Reinforce through development – Ensure that employees have the skills and tools in place to actually reach the established goals – the best way to do this is through development plans.
7. Work the gaps – While managers can work with employees individually, HR should run company reports to monitor where the organization is falling short at a high level.
8. Encourage year-long communication – It is easy for the manager and employee to set up the initial goals and then not touch them again. Leverage system technology to send reminders to employees to update their goals and work toward instilling a culture of frequent manager/employee communication.
9. Monitor compliance – Managers should be monitoring completion and updates of employee goals, but HR should monitor overall progress and provide reports to executives and department heads.
10. Measure twice, cut once – Goals should be a major component of a company’s annual performance appraisal where employees are measured and ultimately held accountable.

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