Organizational Goal-Setting Statistics

In this blog, discover how and why goal-setting fails, as well as three ways to fix it, all backed with the stats and facts.

Goal-setting is key to organizational success

Goal setting is the process of establishing a guideline that aids employees in understanding individual, team, and business goals. When done right, goals can be the #1 driver of organizational success because they ensure that everyone is working towards a shared vision.

But if goal setting is so important, why do as many as 90% of businesses fail to reach strategic goals? And if goals really matter, why aren’t more companies getting them right?

In this blog, we’ll answer these questions and many more, all backed with stats and facts.

Why does goal setting fail?

When investigating goal-setting failures, we noticed that research pointed to the importance of having simple and clear goals. When goals are poorly defined, teams often perceive them as irrelevant, prompting unattainable objectives, squandered motivation, and toxic workplace culture.

  • Only 51% of companies even attempt to develop aligned goals, and among the companies surveyed, only 6% regularly revisit them (Phoenix Business Journal).
  • 80% of organizations fail to track their business goals (Phoenix Business Journal).

A second area we found challenging in goal setting was the lack of transparency. Although companies may have set objectives and aligning expectations, managers and employees are often unaware of the overarching mission and their role in executing it.

  • A majority of knowledge workers (82%) say that it’s important that their organizations are transparent (Slack Research).
  • A Betterworks survey found that 92% of American workers would work harder if their colleges could see their goals.
  • 37% of survey respondents from Betterworks said that greater visibility and employee goals would spur their performance.

In all, goals should be straightforward and transparent. If your organization has difficulty implementing and maintaining company objectives, here are a few tips to make the transition or optimize your current system.

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Goal-setting tips backed by stats

Try these three tips to utilize goal-setting in your organization. It'll lead to clear and transparent objectives that'll drive business success.

1. Get employees involved in the goal-setting process

It’s impossible to reach goals on your own. You need the whole team, from the bottom up, to work in the same direction. But it’s hard to make progress when employees aren’t sure what the end goal is. That’s why integrating teams into the goal-setting process, even if it’s in a small way, can reap great benefits for an organization.

Your employees have valuable input given their department and expertise, providing insights that leaders may have otherwise overlooked. Additionally, more employee involvement in goal-setting creates a greater stake in the company's success, inducing motivation, engagement, and commitment.

A recent study conducted by BiWorldwide’s New Rules of Engagement put this hypothesis to the test within a sales team. Here’s what they found:

Increased workplace contentment

  • Employees with goals are 3.6 times more likely to be committed to their organization.
  • Employees of a goal-oriented organization are 6.7 times more likely to feel proud of their organization and 6.5 times more likely to recommend the organization as a great place to work.
  • Workers who create goals are 6.5 times more likely to say their workplace allows them to master the necessary skills to do their job. Additionally, they are 7.7 times more likely to say their employer provides them opportunities to develop their skills.

More engaged employees

  • 80% of employees who set goals at work feel like their ideas are taken seriously, leading to increased engagement.
  • Workers who know how their goals connect to the larger mission are more inspired and are 10 times more likely to feel motivated.

2. Prioritize supportive managers who understand the company’s direction

It’s not enough for employees to know their own goals. They also need to understand how those individual goals play into the company directly so they can see how their efforts fit into the overall strategy. That’s where management comes into the picture.

Top leaders should educate managers on company goals to help them guide their teams towards achieving overarching priorities. This helps the entire organization stay organized and aligned. However, according to Harvard Business Review, that’s not always the case:

Managers need direction too

  • Only 20% of managers believe that their company does a good job supporting strategic priorities.
  • Only 55% of mid-level managers can name even one of their company’s top five priorities. Put another way, when leaders are asked to explain company strategy and objectives, nearly half fail to get even one right.
  • 40% of managers cite failure to align as the single greatest challenge to executing company strategy (Harvard Business Review).

Good managers do great work

  • Managers who are most effective at contextualization can boost the percentage of high performers from 44% to 60% (Gartner). Managers who understand their organization’s strategic objectives and can effectively translate them to their teams greatly impact employee performance.

It’s vital for high-level leaders to support managers in fully comprehending company goals, objectives, and strategy. When done correctly, they’ll support teams in working towards the company mission and help employees grow and progress throughout the journey there.

Use a tool to better communicate goals

Of course, a workplace tool won’t solely make a more connected culture, but it can have a major impact on reaching goals and objectives. In order for the goal-setting process to run smoothly, there needs to be a central space that displays company goals and team initiatives, as well as updates the view based on goal progress. That way, the map of the overall mission is communicated to ensure that everyone is moving in the right direction.

  • 90% of OKR users that utilize goal-management software check in or update progress on their goals at least once a month. In comparison, only 65% of non-OKR users check in or update progress on goals once a month (Ally).
  • According to a Slack study, better communication tools make workers feel more connected (31% of respondents) in comparison to more meetings (15%) or more open office space (13%).

Collato is the perfect tool to maintain your goals and keep up with team updates. Set actionable goals, connect goals to daily work, and track progress along the way, all in one place. Discover more here.

Now to you

These stats and facts show that effective goal-setting is essential to company growth and progress. If you focus on involving your employees and managers in the process, as well as utilizing a tool to help keep everything aligned, you’re sure to see a better organizational culture and even more business successes.

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Find out more about goal-setting


What is organizational goal-setting?
Goal setting is the process of establishing a guideline that aids employees in understanding individual, team, and business goals.
How can my company set goals?
Organizational goals are a highly individualized process. They depend on a company’s mission and business plan. If you want a step-by-step guide to writing your own, check out Collato’s free e-book “Quickstart to OKRs.” You can find it on our homepage under “Resources.”
How can goal-setting benefit an organization?
Think of it like this; your organizational goals are the north star of your business. They create a direction for every person within your company. This star makes everyone aligned and working towards the same goal, leading to more organizational success and growth.
How does goal-setting benefit employees?
When employees are a part of the goal-setting process, they better understand how their individual work contributes to the larger picture. They’re more likely to feel that their work is valued and appreciated, leading to increased engagement, motivation, and productivity.
Content Writer
From California, Lillie is passionate about personal development and the Future of Work. She enjoys writing about New Work concepts, leadership solutions, and productivity hacks, all with a sprinkle of quirky humor.