Organizational goals are strategic objectives that a company's management establishes to outline expected outcomes and guide employees' efforts.
There are many advantages to establishing organizational goals: They guide employee efforts, justify a company's activities and existence, define performance standards, provide constraints for pursuing unnecessary goals and function as behavioral incentives.
There are two main types of organizational goals: official and operative. Official goals detail a company's aims as described in their public statements, such as the corporate charter and annual reports. They help to build the organization's public image and reputation. Operative goals are the actual, concrete steps a business intends to take to achieve its purpose. A company's operative goals often don't parallel its official goals; for example, while a nonprofit volunteer organization's main official goal may be community service, limited funding might mean that its operative goal of fund raising will take precedence.
Organizations should clearly communicate organizational goals to engage employees in their work and achieve the organization's desired ends. While an organization can communicate its organizational goals through formal channels, the most effective and direct way to do so is through employees' direct supervisors. This allows managers to work with their staff to develop SMART goals that align with the organization's goals.
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- See how the U.S. Office of Personnel Management uses organizational goals in its performance management lifecycle