What Are Cascading Goals
Cascading goals is the process in which the organizations’ strategic goals are linked downwards (cascaded) within the organization from level to level ultimately reaching individual employees to ensure alignment and accountability throughout the entire organization.
Specifically, this means that goals are to be established at the top of the organisation, encompassing the specific way in which an organisation may meet its big vision and objectives, to which various department levels will be linked towards meeting these goals. Moreover, this is further cascaded downwards through departments, teams and finally to individual employees. In such a cascading goal process each employee within the organisation is then to be held accountable for achieving the specific goals that correlate to the higher-level goals, providing transparent connections and alignment between what employees do in their daily activities and meeting their organisations’ key goals.
Cascading goals is extremely critical for HR managers, team managers and organisational leaders to effectively ensure are implemented to attain the success of the organisation more efficiently. The following blog will delve further into how managers may implement cascading goals and further the specific benefits that effectively utilising the cascading goals process will attain for the organization.
How to Implement Cascading Goals
1. Create Organisational Goals
To begin the cascading goals process it is important for the organisation to carefully consider what the actual organisational goals are. To effectively do so it is critical for the organisation to create goals that align closely to the vision, mission and values of the organisation. Moreover, to effectively create goals that closely link to the three points of alignment, the utilisation of SMART goals is critical.
When considering SMART goals, a company will consider that the goals created are specific, this means that goals are clearly defined and further identify the final results that are expected to be achieved. This aims to reduce the overall ambiguity of the goal and increase the level of clarity that organisational individuals will understand when viewing the goals that are needed to be attained.
SMART goals ensure that goals are measurable, this means that the goal will be defined in terms of quality, quantity and timeliness so that managers and employees will understand how the goal will be achieved and how to record the attainment of the goal. Furthermore, SMART goals ensure that goals are achievable, this means that the goal created is to be attainable but still holds a value of difficulty to meet the goal. This ensures that employees find a challenge in meeting goals which in turn will increase the motivation level of employees throughout the workplace.
SMART goals ensure that goals are relevant, this means that when creating the goals, the organisation is fully aligned. Specifically, as aforementioned, the vision, mission and values are considered when creating overall organisational goals, although further, a direct link with the following departmental, team and individual goals needs to be considered. Finally, SMART goals will ensure that there is an ideal and realistic time frame for completion, this ensures that employees are motivated to work towards meeting the goal with the effort promoted through time.
Moreover, when creating the organisational goals, it is critical that no more than three to five goals should be set. This is due to any more than five goals having a consequential overwhelming effect upon employees which may lead to substantial demotivation. Likewise, any less than three goals will not present a challenge to employees as they are not exhibited to the pressure of meeting a large group of goals.
2. Cascade to Departmental Goals
The next step to effectively implement the cascading goals process within the organisation is through cascading departmental goals. Specifically, cascading departmental goals is to be undertaken whereby utilising SMART goals once again will allow for a strategic alignment of the goals of the department to the goals of the organisation. An example of a brief departmental goal that has been aligned to an organisations goal of increasing purchases by 20% is in a marketing department whereby they will beat revenue budgets through acquiring 2,500 qualified customers by the end of quarter one.
3. Cascade Further for Teams and Individuals
Following cascading for departmental goals it is critical to continue to cascade goals for teams and individuals within each department. Again, through the utilisation of SMART goals organisations may find perfect alignment with how teams and individuals may contribute to the attainment of organisational-level goals. An example of an individual goal that meets is aligned to the previously mentioned departmental goal is an individual employee effectively aiming to meet personal budgets through acquiring 200 customers sales by the end of quarter one.
4. Review and Manage Goals
To assure that the cascading goals strategy is effectively working it is important that the next step is for managers to review and manage goals. Specifically, this may include when an employee is found to be struggling to meet the goals assigned, managers will need to break down the goals into smaller goals to assist the employee in meeting their larger goals.
Moreover, managers need to analyse the progress of employees meeting goals by evaluating goals-against predetermined performance measurements. This will ensure that any unexpected result will be assessed and either eliminated or expanded on to ensure that the organisation cascades effectively.
Finally, it is critical to change or adjust goals once they have been met. If the goals are unchanged once they have been met than employees will become demotivated to work hard as they have attained their current goals and now have nothing to work strongly towards.
5. Encourage Manager and Employee Commitment
The final step to effectively implement a cascading goals strategy is through effectively encouraging managers and employees to be committed to meeting goals. This may be done through effectively ensuring that rewards and recognition incentives are aligned into goal attainment. When goals are being met employees should be rewarded or recognised for their efforts, likewise, managers who encourage employees to the achievement of those goals will need to be further rewarded to constantly ensure that both the manager and employee are working towards future goals with a high level of constant motivation.