Engineering Corporate Citizenship


View News Archives

Part Three Image.jpg

Grow

Goal-setting raises the bar for performance in organizations. As mentioned earlier, growing different aspects of employee interests into skills – both professional and personal – benefits employee wellness and the company overall. Individuals who feel a healthy work-life balance have a higher tendency to stay and progress through the company. Goal-setting provides employees a natural opportunity to demonstrate leadership and self-motivation; typically leading employees to earn promotions. By using a goal-setting program to create clear avenues toward accomplishment, companies will develop happier employees that grow into skilled leaders.

As employees are promoted to leadership roles, their earlier interests may now benefit or be formally incorporated into organizational business plans. People are the catalyst for growth. By supporting personal goals, employees are empowered to develop the core of a business. Contributing individual drive to overall business goals can open the door on improvements from expanded service offerings to fostering a culture of wellness.


Repeat

Goal-setting is a life-long skill. Continuing to encourage learning and self-motivation is a benefit to employees and, from a corporate perspective, will grow and enhance an organization as a whole.


Read the other parts of this series for more information:

About the Author

Mary Pettit is a Human Resources (HR) Manager leading organizational development and leadership training; managing employee relations; and building strategies to retain and recruit key talent for VAA. She welcomes and values the opportunity to contribute ideas to company-wide business goals and aligning HR initiatives and monthly wellness activities to foster employee camaraderie. Earning her first HR certification in 2008, Mary has continued in the field with a PHR certification from the HR Certification Institute and a Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)-CP Certification.


Part Two Image.jpg

Learn

An inevitable part of trying something new is an opportunity to learn. The obvious learning opportunity is directly related to the goal. For example, an employee may set a goal to learn the latest version of a software program. In achieving proficiency in that program, they have learned a new skill. Even trying and failing comes with learning opportunities. However, in addition to goal-related knowledge, participants are developing skills in goal-setting and accountability that can benefit any position and any company. Everyone wants an employee comfortable setting goals and independently planning to achieve them.


As the goal-setting program becomes more established, employees and direct managers will learn how to effectively assess the feasibility of goals. Learning by doing, staff will gain a better understanding of what can be accomplished on an individual basis in the time allowed. It is also important to teach managers to discuss goals with their employees and create attainable goals by planning for other priorities throughout the year. Practicing communication in your organization through goal-setting will positively impact how employees on all levels share expectations for project work and related deadlines.


Obtaining leadership support can be accomplished through annual trainings. During these discussions, information about the S.M.A.R.T. goals system and tips on goal-setting can be shared in a way that is both informative and persuasive. This is a chance to share the values of the program – accountability, personal development, self-motivation – as well as preliminary steps for implementation.


Read the other parts of this series for more information:

About the Author

Mary Pettit is a Human Resources (HR) Manager leading organizational development and leadership training; managing employee relations; and building strategies to retain and recruit key talent for VAA. She welcomes and values the opportunity to contribute ideas to company-wide business goals and aligning HR initiatives and monthly wellness activities to foster employee camaraderie. Earning her first HR certification in 2008, Mary has continued in the field with a PHR certification from the HR Certification Institute and a Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)-CP Certification.


Part One Image.jpg

As more corporations adopt formal goal-setting programs, it is important to understand how to engage staff in the process and how goal-setting can be used effectively to benefit individuals and companies overall. S.M.A.R.T. goals – statements that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely – have become the standard for organizational goal-setting. Use of this method provides guidance for employees when proposing goals and allows managers to more accurately judge the feasibility and later the progress of those goals. With a goal-setting program and engagement tools in place, companies will begin to benefit from the growth and additional skills of their employees.


Engage

After establishing a goal-setting program, it is critical to engage employees and managers in the process. Here are a few tips to encourage thoughtful participation when creating and executing S.M.A.R.T goals:

1. Write It Out
As a part of the goal-setting process, ask employees to write out their ideas before completing a formal document. Studies have demonstrated there are many benefits related to handwriting original content. Individuals are far more likely to remember the key details of a goal when asked to create it and write it down on paper. Written goals provide more than a starting-point for progress assessment; employees will be more likely to independently plan for and progress toward their goals.

2. Make It Fun

Allowing employees to explore a genuine interest or improve current skills of their choice leads to more engaged participants. If an individual has a key role in shaping their commitment, they will be more likely to accomplish it. Additionally, consider offering a personal goal for each employee. This goal, often unrelated to workplace skills, allows for a balance of work and play, demonstrating the company values well-rounded individuals.


3. Keep It Accountable

To get the most out of a goal-setting program, follow through with
individual outcomes by adding mandatory meetings to review goal progress. Motivate staff with clear rewards for success and repercussions for little or no progress. While it’s important to incorporate this into annual reviews, consider introducing quarterly check-ins between the employee and direct supervisor. This will give employees built-in deadlines for progress and
gives managers the opportunity to provide advice and feedback throughout the year.


Read the other parts of this series for more information:

About the Author

Mary Pettit is a Human Resources (HR) Manager leading organizational development and leadership training; managing employee relations; and building strategies to retain and recruit key talent for VAA. She welcomes and values the opportunity to contribute ideas to company-wide business goals and aligning HR initiatives and monthly wellness activities to foster employee camaraderie. Earning her first HR certification in 2008, Mary has continued in the field with a PHR certification from the HR Certification Institute and a Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)-CP Certification.


LinkedIn_Canstruction Grain Belt Sign and Bridge.jpg

Let’s Go Local: The 2018 CAN Sculpture

Reinvigorating a section of the Mississippi Riverfront, August Schell Brewing Company (Schell’s) recently relit the iconic Grain Belt Beer sign. Both Schell’s and Grain Belt boast local longevity with over a century of Minnesota history and business. Known for industry innovations and introducing craft beers to the Midwest in 1984, Schell’s purchased the beloved Minnesota label in August 2002. Since then, Schell’s has maintained its standing as the largest brewery in Minnesota. As Grain Belt Beer celebrates 125 years in 2018, the 48’ tall LED sign and the company it represents is a testament to Minnesota’s dedication to going local.


Depicting miniature versions of the Grain Belt Beer sign and part of the Hennepin Avenue bridge, VAA’s 2018 Canstruction build hopes to echo the landmark’s sentiment by shedding light on the issue of hunger in our local community. After a decade participating in this event, our team has seen thousands of meals contributed and dollars selflessly donated. We think of Canstruction as more than a friendly competition – it’s an iconic community effort toward change. Help support what’s local by reducing hunger in our community.


Why We Participate:
One decade. Thousands of cans. Countless lives impacted.

Canstruction is a non-profit organization responsible for organizing annual design-build competitions across the United States. Giant sized structures made entirely out of canned food are built and displayed as public art exhibits. At the close of the competition, the dismantled food used in the structures is donated to local food banks, which, in the Minnesota competition, is Second Harvest Heartland - the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger relief food organization.


VAA is proud to support Second Harvest Heartland (SHH) through monetary donations and participation in this event. This year’s annual Canstruction competition will be held September 15 – 17 in the Rotunda of the Mall of America. We hope you can join us or consider donating to the cause.


VAA is privileged to have Schell’s support for this year’s build.


Community Hands Logo_LinkedIn.png

The VAA Plymouth office hosted Community Caring Campaign (CCC), a range of events and volunteer opportunities for employees over the course of two weeks. Championed by VAA’s Wellness and Outreach committee, the CCC raised nearly $50,000 along with providing supplies to those in need.

In line with the firm’s commitment to community, the CCC accepted pledges and volunteer time to support three selected local organizations:

Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities
Enables all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP)
Partnering with VAA for the past decade, IOCP helps families living in eight Twin Cities western suburbs overcome barriers, believe in themselves and soar to new heights.

Second Harvest Heartland (SHH)
Partnering with VAA for the past decade, SHH is a local food shelf that leads through innovation, finding creative solutions to connect the full resources.

VAA supports SHH through monetary donations and participation in Canstruction, an event featuring giant structures made entirely out of canned food. Structures are built and displayed as public art exhibits until the food is donated to local food banks like SHH. In Minnesota, this year’s annual competition is held September 15 – 17 in the Rotunda of the Mall of America.