July 16, 2021

How to Boost Productivity Through Meaningful Goal Setting & Recognition


It’s no secret that most employees want their work to matter. They want to make a difference and they want to know their work has purpose and meaning.

However, ensuring employees feel empowered and engaged at work isn’t always an easy task for employers.

To help with this, we’ve gathered the strategies needed to improve productivity, inspire innovation and ensure employees feel valued. 

The importance of goal management and employee recognition

Implementing a goal framework like OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) can not only help employees align with a company’s mission, but it can help motivate performance and provide clarity and transparency to company-wide goals. 

Once clear goals are established, it’s essential that organizations reward and recognize employees for their success and their achievements. Pausing to take time to recognize employee efforts—even if it’s a learning, failure, win or milestone—can go a long way. 

Strategies for using goal management in tandem with employee recognition

  1. Try to keep your goals front and center in discussions and meetings at your organization. This can help to create a high level of transparency. 
  2. Make sure to check on company, team, and individual goals frequently. Many companies tend to “set it and forget it” and this typically doesn’t work well long-term. 
  3. Put a great goal management platform in place that makes accessing and tracking goals easy. Example: 

“Every Tuesday morning at, we hold a company meeting for 30-minutes called the “Upload”. This call is to check in on our company goals, our progress to date, and our priorities for the upcoming week. We don’t have slides or presentation materials and try to make the meeting easy and quick. When we share our successes regularly like this, it makes it easy to recognize employees each week” – Rebecca Clements, SVP People and Culture at

Driving forces for boosting employee productivity

At we conducted a survey centered on goal management and company culture and how both can affect employee engagement and productivity. After surveying over 4,500 working adults in the USA and UK we found: 

Mission is “mission critical”

When employees aren’t aligned to their company mission, their work and productivity suffers. 

Based on the survey, 88% of employees who say they believe in the company mission also feel inspired by the work they do. Only 42% of employees who don’t know what the mission is, or don’t believe in it can say the same. 

It’s important to have clear goals, clarity on what you’re doing, and a mission that supports that.

goal setting and innovation

Company Culture is a Competitive Advantage

Many of us know that company culture can set you apart as a workplace. It can impact innovation, customer loyalty, the ability to retain employees, and the bottom line.

Based on our survey, company culture was rated higher when a company had a standardized goal framework in place. We learned that a goal framework can help create stronger alignment, productivity, and trust as companies check-in more regularly on progress. 

goal setting culture

Goals add value in different ways, with a common thread: high performing teams

We gathered feedback from individuals, managers, and executives and asked them about the benefits of having goals at their companies. All groups said having clear goals contributed to having high performing teams. 

From the survey, we also learned that OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) outperform other types of goal management frameworks, but they are underutilized. Of the workers that use OKRs, the majority rated their company culture higher and said OKRs inspired them to take risks. 

goal setting value

The importance of employee recognition

OC Tanner research found that 79% of employees who quit their jobs claim that a lack of appreciation was a major reason for leaving. That’s quite a large amount!

The good news is that companies that have a ‘culture of recognition” have employees that are 5x more likely to feel valued, 7x more likely to stay with their company and 11x more likely to feel completely committed to their jobs, according to Bucketlist Rewards

To get started with employee recognition companies will want to start by surveying employees and asking them:

  • Do they feel recognized?
  • How do employees want to be recognized? Publicly, privately? Or by peers or managers?
  • How does your staff want to be rewarded? Time off, experiential, gift card, acknowledgement etc. 

Best practices to setting up an employee recognition program

Planning – Build an employee recognition strategy or add in an annual review if you already have a program in place. 

Communication – Use your existing channels and favorite tools (intranets, email, chat function, meetings, mobile) to share employee recognition. 

Functionality – Use peer and manager recognition as much as you can as these are the most valuable. 

Measurement – Prove your initiative worked by measuring engagement, participation, rewards distributed and redeemed. 

4 things you can do today to improve employee productivity

  1. Adopt a goal setting framework to help bring clarity and alignment to your organization.
  2. Operationalize your process and make sure your goal framework is part of your every day business rhythm. 
  3. Consider adopting a tool or platform to manage all of this to bring greater transparency to goal management, progress and results. 
  4. Implement an employee recognition process and program to highlight your team’s successes and learnings.

For more great insight and in depth discussion on all of the above, check out the webinar here.

____ and Bucketlist Rewards are complementary platforms both formed on the mission of bringing goal management recognition to every workplace. 

Learn more about

Learn more about Bucketlist Rewards.

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