Goals and Transparency Help People Win at Work, Says Employee Sentiment Survey

By Betterworks
December 13, 2016
2 minute read

Last month, we commissioned a survey to determine just how much of an impact goal setting has on performance at work. Wakefield Research surveyed 1,000 fully employed U.S. adults for their opinions on what motivates their performance, and whether or not extra transparency across all departments (including their leadership team) matters.

Turns out, there is still a gap between the work employees are doing and how it impacts company goals. Four out of every ten employees admit they don’t understand the connection. When organizations choose to be more transparent about goals, work progress and company values, employees work harder. The survey revealed that a shocking “92% of employees say they’d work harder if their goals were transparent.”

So what are the advantages of creating a more transparent work environment, according to the survey and our experience across hundreds of enterprise organizations like AOL and Beachbody?

  • When employees have greater visibility into the goals of their company, manager and peers, they begin to get a better sense of how their work contributes to the long-term plans of the company. Employees can find greater purpose in working together towards a particular company vision.
  • When survey respondents were asked what single action could have the most positive impact on their work performance, 44% said “more recognition for employees.” The more insight managers and leaders have into goals and progress being made towards those goals, the easier it becomes to recognize employees for a job well done.
  • Transparency and goal setting at work can make feedback more useful for employees. According to 83% of survey respondents who said their company goals are not transparent, [tweet text=”83% of employees say the feedback they’re getting isn’t useful or frequent enough.”]feedback they’re receiving from managers also fails to be both useful and frequent.[/tweet]There is a connection between public goal-setting and managers’ abilities to provide the feedback employees need.
  • Women and men are motivated differently, according to the survey. A great number of women (50%) believe greater recognition would boost their work performance, compared to men (39%). Similarly, more men say increased visibility into goals and more accountability would impact work performance. Transparency allows managers to cater to the needs of all employees, regardless of gender.

So what’s holding organizations back from being more transparent—and what’s with all the secrecy? Sixty-four percent of employees believe their company’s leadership team isn’t completely transparent when communicating top goals. It’s challenging to make changes overnight, and making transparency the norm requires huge cultural change, not just from employees but from your leadership team as well. In fact, your leadership team must jump on board or it’s hard to truly remove secrecy across your workforce.

Check out our tips on making transparency a part of your company culture. Encouraging employees to set and share goals in 2017 is a solid place to start.


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