The pandemic due to COVID-19 has affected the world around us in many different ways. From our usual lifestyle to the way businesses operate, there had been a paradigm shift. Amidst all these chaos, employees are too stressed out due to job loss, pay cut, remote working, furloughed, etc. as businesses are now slowly opening up and resuming operations, there is a tremendous challenge for the HR leaders to restore the employee morale, bring the teams together, and boost the overall spirit of the organization. In this article, we talk about how goal setting can energize the team morale.

1. Understand the pulse of the employees

The pandemic has affected each one of us in many ways. And so, goal setting wouldn’t be the same as other years. As employees are resuming work after a long time, there must be a lot going through their minds. It is important to gauge their mindset before setting up new goals. Managers and HR managers need to work together with the employees to understand their readiness and how much they can take up.

Hence, goal setting has to be personalized. While many employees must be emotionally charged up to get back to work, some might feel stressed out, may have suffered a personal loss, or even be resistant. Instant of judging them, be empathetic towards them and set up goals keeping their emotional wellbeing in mind.

2. Recognitions goes a long way

The pandemic has taught us how unpredictable life could be. The same can be translated into an organization set up as well. Setting up long term goals that are attaining in more than six months to one year, is not the right goal to set at the moment. Instead, focus on the short term to midterms goals that can be achieved quickly. Recognize each time a team member achieves it. Recognition plays a great role in building team morale and energizing the team. Recognitions need not be monetary always, but giving a shoutout on a common platform like a Slack channel or a company townhall or a common email can also help to a great extent to give a boost to the employee morale. 

However, it doesn’t mean that you should shy away from setting long-term goals. Once you feel, your employees are ready and back to their usual form, expand the goals. Thus, you can gradually transform from short term to long term goals. 

3. Emphasize on collaboration

Remember, that your employees had been in isolation for a long time and hence they might need time to collaborate on one another. Emphasize on creating shared goals where each team and team members need to collaborate. A commonly shared goal for teams works best in this scenario.

4. Involve employees in the goal-setting process

 Of course, no one likes to get dictated what to do at work, more so when they are coming back right after a pandemic. So, instead of telling them what should they work on, involve them in the goal-setting process. Give them the liberty on areas they want to focus on. When employees are given the responsibility to decide their own goals, they feel more accountable and are willing to take ownership. They feel more energized to work and deliver their best.

5. Keep it one at a time

While having multiple goals may be good to boost productivity, but this is certainly not the right time to do so. Instead, focus on having one attainable goal that can be broken down into chunks of short and mini-goals that can be achieved easily. Once you feel that the employees can take up more, you can slowly build in the pace by adding in multiple goals. So, start working from mini-goals that can be achieved in a week and then work towards a bigger chunk of goals that can be done in a month and so on.

6. Take care of the “hungry” employees

While some employees may not be ready to take up more challenges, a few more may be “hungry” more than ever and willing to take more. This could happen for many reasons — fear of pay cut, proving themselves, or fear of job loss are some of the probable reasons. Managers need to watch out for these employees and ensure that these employees do not burn out themselves by overworking. 

Goal setting is an exercise that is meant to motivate employees. They should feel excited about the projects they are working in, should be able to achieve them easily, and celebrate the wins. Goals that are stretching with no parameters to measure them, often make employees distracted. They tend to lose focus at work.

The onus lies with managers and HR leaders to ensure employees get to work at something that they are passionate about and excited about.