Less Than Half of U.S. Workers Know Their Organization's Goals

March 16, 2004
Do your employers know your company's production goals, safety goals or philosophical goals? If not, they are not alone.

A new study from Franklin-Covey, which has surveyed more than 2.5 million people about productivity and effectiveness issues, found that most organizations suffer from major "execution gaps" that undermine the achievement of their most critical, strategic goals.

"The most fundamental business issue facing organizations today is execution, whether or not an organization achieves its goals," said Dr. Stephen R. Covey, vice chairman of FranklinCovey and author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." "There is serious misalignment between the daily activities of the frontline worker and the organizational strategy. The top priority of every executive and team leader should be to clarify, communicate and assist workers in achieving their organization's critical goals."

In fact, the most enlightening finding of the study was that the majority of workers don't know their organization's most important goals:

  • 48 percent of workers said their organization has a clear strategic direction and only 37 percent said they understand the reason for that strategic direction.
  • 44 percent of workers said their organization has clearly communicated its most important goals.
  • 54 percent of workers said they clearly understand what they are supposed to do to help achieve their organization's goals.

The study also found that the majority of workers are not committed to their organization's most important goals:

  • 22 percent of workers are enthusiastic about the goals they set with their work teams.
  • 39 percent of workers say they are highly energized and committed to the direction of their work team.
  • 41 percent of workers say their job taps into the best of their talents and passion.

Other findings of the study include:

  • Less than half (48 percent) of workers said the goals of their work team are translated into their individual work goals.
  • 38 percent of workers said their work team planning results in clear assignments for individuals.
  • 15 percent of workers say their upper management actively supports the goals of their work team.
  • 30 percent of workers say work team rewards and consequences are clearly based on performance.

When asked the most significant barriers that make it difficult for them to achieve their most important work goals, the most frequently mentioned responses were:

  • Overwhelming workload (e.g., too much to do, can't get to all my key priorities) (31 percent)
  • Lack of resources (e.g., insufficient budgets, people, tools, support) (30 percent)
  • Unclear or shifting work priorities (e.g., other people's urgencies and emergencies, conflicting demands, surprise projects) (27 percent)
  • Political issues (e.g., turf battles, rivalries, favoritism, personality clashes) (26 percent)
  • Lack of recognition or reward (e.g., credit not shared, unfair pay, rewards not tied to performance) (26 percent)

To review the complete report of the survey, visit www.franklincovey.com/about/press/2004/xq_report.pdf.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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