29 Jul 2015 9:40 AM

PURPOSE is defined as 'the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.'

There are times when we approach life with a renewed vigour and sense of ‘purpose’, for example, after a restful break or at the start of a new year. It's at these times we are likely to feel more determined and committed.

This is exactly the state of mind that employers seek to encourage in their people, engendering a culture of impetus; a genuine reason, basis and justification about what they do.

In theory that sounds great, but how can it be achieved?  Well, in my opinion it's down to effective leadership – ‘The motivating and organising of a group of people to achieve a common goal’.

But how do we define and then convey the ‘common goal’?

I was recently tasked with reviewing a traditional box ticking; ‘a-once-a-year-day’ activity appraisal process.  In my research I came across a book ‘Abolishing Performance Appraisals - Why they backfire and what to do instead’, by Tom Coens and Mary Jenkins.

Simultaneous to my review, the Company were getting used a new Personnel Information system ‘OurHR’.  It became apparent that the OurHR Performance Hub complimented what I'd read in the book and vice versa, both provided the direction needed to implement a process which would improve how the Company’s sense of purpose could be communicated.

The book and OurHR advocate ditching the a-once-a-year-day process and replacing it with a culture of objective setting, directly aligned to the Company’s purpose, supported by regular, constructive feedback.

This is where the OurHR system supports the book's methodology. OurHR's user-friendly performance hub provides drop down boxes to link everything back to the Company’s vision, ‘the big picture’. Goals or objectives which are directly aligned to ‘the big picture’ are easily defined for teams and individuals.  People can keep track of their individual goals and regularly update them with ‘deliverables’, giving them a real sense of achievement.

One of the issues with the previous ‘box-ticking’ system was that it allowed people to create objectives which weren't SMART, but were a list of tasks (a re-write of the job description).  The OurHR performance hub encourages the setting of SMART goals and creates accountability.  When the line manger assesses outcomes, achievements are marked with a percentage score (level of completeness), and a 0-5 ratio of where in the process the objective has reached; from ‘got nowhere’ to ‘went above and beyond’.

There is an old adage - ‘If you don’t measure you can’t manage’.  The new system provides an easy mechanism for management reporting.

To talk through your ideas for motivating your people and how we can help you create a culture of purpose in your workplace please get in touch.