People Leadership

The Science and Strategies Behind Helping Your Employees Achieve Their Goals

février 14, 2023

Now that January is over, you may have noticed the chatter around resolutions and goals is quieting down. This isn’t too surprising. Studies show that 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail, often by mid-February. So when it comes to your employees’ annual goals, how can you help them achieve success this year? 

Accomplishing goals requires more than willpower. If you want your employees to achieve what they haven’t before, considering the science behind motivation is a great place to start. It’s important to understand how our brains create and increase motivation, learn new skills, and develop new habits. Then, you can adapt performance management tools, including goal-setting, prioritizing, and employee feedback, to help employees achieve more. 

Let’s dive into the science and strategy behind knocking out those workplace goals. 

The science: what we know about motivation and behaviour 

Our brains rely on systems and patterns of behaviour. 

Pursuing a goal can feel gruelling because, well, it is. Our brains rely on systems and patterns of behaviour. We generally stick to what we know because our brains prefer a predictable and positive outcome. 

If you want to achieve a new goal, you need to undergo behavioural changes. Our brains can be stubborn though, so they initially resist these changes. However, if you know a worthwhile reward is on the way, your brain can be encouraged to pursue new behaviours over old ones. 

Our executive functions need recovery time. 

Our brains use executive functions (such as planning, attention, working memory, and inhibitory control) to do novel things, including achieving new goals. But executive functions are limited and can only focus on one task at a time.  

How do you make sure you don’t burn out before you even start making progress? One effective way to replenish executive functioning is through short rests. Encouraging employees to disconnect from work is another way to give them an opportunity to recharge.  

Our values drive us. 

Any employee can set a goal, but not all goals hold the same significance. Neuroscience research suggests that aligning a goal to an employee’s purpose, core values, and sense of self can be an effective way to motivate the employee to accomplish that goal. 

When a goal doesn’t align with an employee’s passions or values, it is likely going to end up at the bottom of their priorities list. Identifying what matters most to them in life can help an employee set goals that are truly meaningful and that will keep them engaged at work.  

The strategies: how performance management can help employees achieve more 

Now that you know more about the science behind motivation and behaviour, you can leverage this knowledge to set your employees up for success. 

Download our FREE Guide to Goal-Setting Strategies to get started! This guide, compiled by our HR experts, outlines effective performance management strategies that managers can use to help their employees set and achieve sustainable goals this year.