The Impact Of Goal Setting On Employee Performance
Goal setting is a powerful way of motivating people, and of motivating yourself. The researcher has been able to investigate and identify problems associated with goal setting as related to employee performance of Unilever Nigeria PIc among which are goals not jointly agreed upon by the workers or management, workers most times don’t know their functions contribute to align to organizational goals, organizational goals not clear to the management or workers etc. The researcher focused on goal setting and employee performance in Unilever Nigeria PIc. For effective conduct of the research explored the data collection instruments and explicitly presented and analyzed the collected data which give a meaningful correlative relationship between goal setting and employee performance in Unilever Nigeria PIc. The summary of finding, conclusion and recommendations were included in the chapter five of the research.
1.1 Background of the Study
The corporate aim of any formal organization set up is to achieve certain goal and objectives through the utilization of available human resources. Such goals include desire to control the market and achieve strong profitable growth by being the best at identifying and meeting needs through delivery of superior value products. The achievement of the goals and objectives will depend largely on the organizations effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of services to its final consumers. In a highly competitive market like Nigeria, the capabilities, effectiveness and efficiency of industries are measured through the quality of their service delivery.
A goal is a clearly written description of a specific action to be completed by a set date. Goalsetting in writing is extremely important as then thegoal becomes a decision plan for achievement rather than just a notion. Progress on goal achievement should be renewed at regular intervals, especially in long-term goal setting situations to keep both employer and employee on track and up-to-date. Accurate communication is essential in goal setting in order to ensure the goal is interpreted and understood to mean same to both the employer and employees because successful goal setting between both parties leads to successful goal achievement.
Employee performance can be affected by goal setting in many positive ways if the goals are relevant to both the company, realistic and achievable by the workers. Employers need to give workers a clear direction when it comes to goal setting so that the objectives of the management can be realized. Goal setting has a profound effect on the people who use them, whether you set individual goals or work related goals.
“Goals provide a sense of direction and purpose” (Goldstein, 1994). Goal setting can enhance the performance of workers because it lets a worker know exactly what is expected of him or her. When there are clear expectations, it is easy to work towards those expectations. Goal setting allows to be proactive, instead of just being reactive.
Goal setting is a key to achieving success in any endeavor. It is very complex to know where one is going if one does not know where to go. Everyone needs goals to be enthused, grow or increase performance especially with strong goals, Setting goals for example helps employees know where they need to go and how they should go about getting there. It also helps employees manage themselves. Employees should set goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Goals represent expectations and if employees have higher expectations then employees will have improved performance as long as employees achieve their goals. Most of the time, what employees need is motivation, meaning, and purpose in their jobs and if employees set worthwhile goals, they will find life but work more specifically more fulfilling and exciting. Once there is an aim, there is purpose and fulfilling that purpose increases performance as there is realization of achieving success.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
To be honest, organizations have no goals; only people do. People establish organizational goals, either individually, or, more usually, by a number of individuals co-operating together.
For example, a group of senior managers may collectively agree on a particular desired course of action, which may then come to be referred to as an organizational goal. However, this is still the goal of those managers who initially determined it. Success of the organization is measured by the progress of people towards goals set by people. Thus, the study of goal setting becomes problematic as it is concerned with understanding, predicting and controlling employee decisions.
One of the major problems facing organizational goal is lack of mutual interest. In an organization, a goal of a manager may not align with the goals of the organization as a whole. In such cases, the goals of an individual employee may come into direct conflict with the employing organization. As a result, the goals which the organization actually pursues (informal goals) may be distinguished from the officially stated goals (formal goals) which are set out in broad terms as the reasons for the purpose of the organization. Informal goals may be inferred from the actual decisions made and actions taken within the organization. Managers, and other members of the organization, will have:
- Their own perception of the goals of the organization-for example, to produce high-quality handbags which satisfy requirements of the customers; and
- Their personal goals – for example to earn high wages, to achieve promotion, to gain social satisfaction, to achieve status-which they expect to fulfill by participating in the activities of the organization.
If organizational goals and personal goals are pulling in different directions, conflict will arise and performance is likely to suffer. An organization will be more effective when personal goals are compatible with organizational goals. Organizational performance will depend ultimately on the extent to which individuals are provided with the opportunity to satisfy their own goals by contributing to the goals of the organization. Without aligning goals between the organization and the individual, performance may suffer.
Inappropriate performance is another factor that poses negative effect to achieving goal setting in an organization. Goal setting may have little or no effect if individual employee cannot check where the state of their performance is in relation to their goal. Note the importance of employees knowing where they stand in relation to achieving their goals, so they can determine the desirability of working harder or changing their methods and this may leads to poor performance which may affect organizational productivity.
If a goal is unrealistically high, it may affect employee performance. When a goal is perceived to be unreachable, no effort will be made by the employees to achieve it. Management in some cases may set unrealistic goals which employees may not take serious since they perceive it too high to achieve and this may lead to low performance.
In many situations, goal setting may be unsystematic, sporadic and disorganized. In this case, certain goals will be forgotten, the achievement of goals will not be measured and feedback will not occur into new goals. Meanwhile to the employee, the major benefits of goal setting have been lost. If management fails to organize and also regulate the way they use goal setting the organization may not achieve its desire result and objective.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The research is aimed at making theoretical and practical contributions to the effective utilization of goal setting in the work place so as to increase workers performance and organization productivity.
However, the study intends to address those areas that are presently neglected or not adequately covered with a view to alerting the authorities concerned on the implications of such omissions.
The study will also hopefully serve as a practical reference point and an empirical base for further researches.
1.4 Purpose of the Study
The study will find ways in which goal setting for organization needs a complete review of the organization’s corporate vision and how goal setting will help organization’s realize their mission.
It aims at suggesting ways in establishing goal setting for organizations which will take place at all levels to forecast growth potential and balance financial position where managers need to review their goals periodically to be in sync with the organization’s path of progress.
The study will also suggest ways for goal setting which should be imbibed as a corporate philosophy so that individuals, teams and organizational heads are in control of their actions.
1.5 Research Questions
The following questions will be addressed in this study;
- Can goal setting play a vital role in improving the skills, performance and productivity of employees?
- Can goal setting be conveniently ignored if a firm wants to maximize its productivity?
- Is there any significant relationship between goal employee motivation and performance?
- Is there any meaningful relationship between goal setting and employee relationship as regards to promotion?
- Does the absent of goal setting lead to labour turnover?
1.6 Statement of the Hypothesis
The hypothesis for the research shall be drawn as follows
- Ho: there is no significant relationship between organizational goal setting and motivation of employees.
Hi: there is a significant relationship between organizational goal setting and motivation of employees.
- Ho: employees goal often deviate from organizational goals
Hi: employees goal always align with organizational goal
1.7.1 Historical Background of Unilever Nigeria Plc.
Unilever Nigeria PIc (formerly Lever Bothers Nigeria Pic) is one of the oldest manufacturing companies in Nigeria today, most relevant vibrant and very strong blue chip manufacturing company. In 11th April, 1923, the company was registered in Nigeria by the world famous founder of Lever Brothers U.K., Mr. Hasketh Leverhulums before his death in 1925, barely 2 years after the establishment of the company in the old Apapa factory site.
In 1924, the name of the company was changed to West African Soap Company and the old Apapa factory was commissioned to produce Bar Soap in 1995. The company’s name was changed to Lever Brothers (Nigeria) Limited and between 1950 and 1960, more productions including Lux Toilet Soap and Edible fats were introduced.
The second factory based in Aba, Abia State, was constructed and commissioned in 1958, to produce Hand soaps- sunlight, key and Hand print among others. In 1964, the local production of non-soapy Detergents.
Omo surf and later Drive-was started in the Apapa factory, to be later followed with the local production of Toothpaste such as signal Toothpaste, pepsodent and close-up. In 1971, the Tree Top Fruit Suash range was introduced, also in the Apapa factory.
The decade 1971-1980 witnessed the era of indigenization of foreign-owned companies in Nigeria. This development made it possible for Nigeria to owe 60% of the share in the company.
In 1983, a brand New foods factory was commissioned in Agbara, Ogun state, making this company’s third factory in Nigeria. The production of edible fats and fruit squashes was transferred in stages to this most modem factory in this part of the world. In 1985, Lipton of Nigeria limited was merged with Lever Brother and by 1988; the production of Tea and Coffee Drinks had been transferred from the Burma Road, Apapa site to the Agbara Food Factory. Since then more food product were produce in that site.
The latest of such product is the Lifebuoy toilet soap, which has been very well received by housewives. In December 1988, Chasebrough products industries limited, makers of Vaseline and pint range of products was Marge with lever Brother and the patent right of the famous Vaseline and ponds range of product passed to lever Brothers with a view to rationalizing their production sites, improves quality, productivity efficiencies and cost effectiveness, the product were ·transferred to Apapa factory in December, 1992.
Today Unilever produces over different products In various packs and sizes from three factories located in Oregun, Agbara (Ogun state) and Aba (Abia state) they distribute their products to every nook and comer of the country, utilizing twenty seven 27 depots spread all over the country as of 1993. Complemented by their direct consumer contact operations, which has the function of carrying their products into rural areas. The name Unilever Nigeria PIc. has become synonymous with household products which consumers find most relevant and indispensable, the selling points of which have been their unbeatable quality competitive pricing and read availability, anywhere in this country. No wonder that unlived products have remained over the years. A MUST IN EVERY HOME in this country fined for most parts and central Africa.
Apart from being, perhaps the oldest surviving manufacturing company in Nigeria, spearheading technological development in its sphere manufacturing blazing the trial in the of backward integration. It directly employs presently over 2000 Nigerians with a cadre of every well trained manager.
1.7.2 Main Activities Of Lever Brothers
Lever Brothers Nigeria PIc controls a large proportion of the consumers’ product in Nigeria. Their purpose is to meet the everyday needs of their customer in every nook and comer of the country.
They anticipate the aspirations of their consumers and consumers respond creatively and competitively with branded products and services, which raise the quality of life. Their deep roots in Nigeria combined with international experience represent their foundations for their further growth.
The long term success of the company requires a total commitment to exceptional standards of performance and productivity, to working together effectively and to a willingness to embrace new idea and learn continuously.
The company believes that to succeed requires the highest standards of corporate behaviours towards their employees, consumers and the society, which they are. The company now places special emphasis on the manufacturing of soaps and detergent, foods, edibles, and personal products.
Apart from the factories and depots of the countries that are spread all over the country. The company also has the following departments and each has a unique function to perform:
- Functional department
- Information Technology Department
- Buying Department
- Logistics Department
- Manufacturing Department
- Research and Development Department
- Market Department
- Customer Services Department
- Human Resources (personal) Department
- Corporate Affairs Department
The functions of each departments or unit as the case may be are very much in consonance with their tags such as Human Resources Department, which takes care of the personnel, Recruitment, Training, industrial Relations and Allied Activities.
1.7.3 Staff Welfare
Since one of the corporate purpose of Lever Brother Nigerian plc is on quality consciousness and special skill, this piece focuses on the staff welfare. In this regard, the company continues to provide reasonable working condition for its staff. Official cars are provided for the senior members of staff, while the junior cadres are not left out in other activities like home ownership scheme, health and general social welfare facilities, long service award, and non-contributory pension scheme. Employers are also entitled to a gratuity period on their retirement. These are parts of the activities of the company to motivate its staff.
The company also provides facilities for the feeding of all workers for each working day at the staff canteen for the moment, this is limited to lunch alone and being paid for by the issuance of luncheon vouchers to each worker according to individual worker cadre.
In order to ensure the quality of human resources available, the company invest heavily in training and development which help in sustaining total quality and continuous improvement.
The training extends to both management and non management levels not just through courses, local and international, but also through on-the job training, use of task forces and group activities as well as the international management exchange programme they also provide conducive working environment, good appraisal and remuneration system for an effective motivation of the employee.
Discussions, Conclusions and Recommendations
5.1 Summary of the Findings
The findings of this study have been derived from the objectives of the study which were:
- To determine the effects of team goals on employees’ performance
- To assess the influence of joint goal setting on employees’ performance.
- To establish the effects of employee involvement in goal setting on employees’ performance at Unilever Nigeria PLC.
- To examine the strategies for enhancing goal setting and their likely effect on employees’ performance.
In reference to these objectives, the following findings were obtained.
5.1.1 Effects of Team Goals on Employees Performance
The first objective of the study was to determine the effects of team goals on employees’ performance. The study found that employees of unilever agreed that team goals improved employees’ performance. This was supported by over 70% of the respondents.
Based on the above findings and discussions the study concluded that participative goal setting of specific, difficult and accepted goals affects performance. Team goals affect performance through creation of teamwork and collaboration. Effective team goals can better achieve a goal by pooling, capitalizing and utilizing experience and expertise. A well set team goal facilitates focusing their efforts in a specified direction to achieve desired performance. Having employees work as teams with specific team goal rather than as individuals with only individual goals, increases employee performance.
Joint goals improve performance through engagement and conducive work environment. The employees need to have unlimited input into their work and to be fully involved in the designing of performance measurements and the uses of performance measurements.
Involvement of employees in goal setting also enhances employee performance. The employees need to have unlimited input into their work and to be fully involved in the designing of performance measurements and the uses of performance measurements. Finally based on the findings of the study, there are four ways of effective employee participation in goal setting which includes; understanding the strategy the organization is trying to implement, timely communication of performance targets, timely feedback on progress towards set goals and employee full participation in setting goals.
5.4 Recommendations of the Study
Arising from the foregoing conclusions the study makes the following recommendations for improving goal setting and employees’ performance at the Unilever Nigeria PLC.
- The use of teams in problem solving and decision making should be encouraged. This will create shared understanding and promote high levels of employee collaboration which have the potential to raise performance.
- Through joint goal setting at the work place employees should be involved in setting strategies designing performance measurements and the uses of performance appraisal.
- Employee involvement has the effect of improving timely service delivery, morale and achievement of goals. The company should make use of this aspect of goal setting in order to enhance employee’s performance though reduction of resource wastage in organizations.
- Finally there is need for the company to adopt appropriate strategies for enhancing participative goal setting by ensuring that employees understand company strategy, timely communication of targets and feedback on performance. This might call for effective performance contracting and performance appraisals.
The Impact Of Goal Setting On Employee Performance
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