One aspect of your annual planning that you shouldn’t overlook is goal planning. Here’s how to get input from your team.
Your annual goals. They’re how you get your team to dial in and achieve your business’s most important objectives. As part of your strategic planning, consider asking your team members for input on where they should be focused. Finding out what aspects they think are important to growing your business’s bottom line, as well as the areas they themselves feel like they need to focus on, can reveal important insights that help you determine where to make strategic investments. Some of these include:
Areas of expertise: When your team members work in their area of expertise for a long time, they see opportunities and issues that others will miss. Employees with years of experience can be your best resource for getting things done quickly and efficiently. Ask individual contributors and smaller teams for input on what steps you can take this year to improve performance. It may turn out that their suggestions lead to simple investments, process improvements, or refocused objectives that help your company grow.
Upskilling: What areas do your employees feel they need to improve in? One marketing director I spoke with mentioned that his analytics team provides him with yearly suggestions of trainings they should attend and platforms they need to learn in order to stay current. Proactively seeking opportunities to upskill your team opens up new possibilities for professional development that really have an impact—while setting the stage for your team to leapfrog standard productivity goals.
Career path decisions and changes: During your strategic planning session, it’s smart to touch base with your team and find out if they have any sense that their career will be changing in the year ahead. A key contributor may be committed to finding another job that’s closer to his or her family, for example, or someone may be actively planning to leave the workforce due to family changes. Once you understand what a contributor is thinking about, it’s easy to take the steps needed to either retain him or her (if that’s appropriate) or get other resources in place to do the job once that key person leaves.
Don’t overlook the opportunity to use annual planning as a way to tap into the knowledge your team holds, gain better insights into their goals and objectives, and help discover concrete rewards such as professional development opportunities that they love to attend.