Successful businesses always have loyal staff to support them. But this loyalty cannot be nurtured unless all the staff understands the difference between goals and objectives in business terms. There should be a mechanism to convey the difference between the two and ensure that the mission and vision of the company is understood and followed by everyone irrespective of their job profile or seniority within the organization. This is where the role of the HR department takes center stage in helping to convey company objectives to all staff and make it aligned with company goals. They are responsible for directing employees with detailed examples of goals and objectives in real time.

So what exactly is the difference between goals and objectives in business?

Let’s have a look at the definition of goal and objective before proceeding further. A goal is something you set as a milestone or an achievable feat in your businesses growth story. You work towards achieving that milestone. A typical example would be like; growing sales in Europe by 30 percent compared to the previous year or improving overall profits by 10% compared to previous year. This is a feat if achieved would be used to value the efforts of the organization as a whole. Objectives on the other hand are a collection of efforts you devise to achieve a goal. In another words, it is the actual mode of work you want to adopt to reach your goal. Let’s explain with the same example of goal mentioned earlier. Suppose a business house wants to grow their profits by 10% when compared to next year. Then expanding the number of stores or cutting down on inefficiencies in manufacturing operations, etc. would fall in the category of objectives.

Now that you have clearly understood what is a goal and what is a business objective definition, lets talk about implementing both in an organization. This is the phase where the Human Resource department plays a vital role in establishing the difference between goals and objectives in strategic planning.

The role of HR teams in making the organization aligned to goals and objectives revolves mainly around 3 tasks.

  • Communicating the definition of business goals and objectives
  • Discussing about implementation steps
  • Measuring results

Let’s have a closer look at each of them to understand the importance of human resource team members in the entire process.

difference between goals and objectives in strategic planning

Defining goals vs objectives in a business

It is easy to put up a whiteboard full of definitions or a PowerPoint Presentation with definitions that employees can refer to while joining the organization or during their ongoing learning and development sessions and internal training activities. But conveying such a vital information which forms the very essence of the vision and mission of the company, requires more than just self learning. HR folks need to have personal conversations with each and every employee to make him or her understand the true intent of setting objectives and goals for management. They need to have personal sessions with each employee to identify their skill set and behavioral patterns and it is the responsibility of the HR teams to chart a plan to align employee skills with the mission and vision of the company. Each goal when set by the decision makers should be conveyed strategically to all stakeholders involved in the process of realizing the goal. Care has to be taken to ensure that the correct goal in its entirety should be imparted to employees. There is no scope for errors and misinformation because, for a strategic enterprise goal to be achieved it is important to have everyone on the same page and with the right knowledge. The HR department needs to analyze the goals, study its impact on all levels of employees, their performance metrics, their behavioral aspects and much more. The final communication of the goal to the employee should be made only after all this study and analysis have been completed successfully and necessary audits have been done to ensure compliance with managerial decisions. As for objectives there needs to be a clear cut path set out for employees to plan their activities and work metrics to satisfy demanding objectives. There should be clear and transparent communication paths for conveying any constraints or hardships and the end result should be acceptable to all stakeholders. These objectives may be set as performance evaluation parameters which would then be analyzed from time to time. Thanks to cloud based performance evaluation platforms like SuccessDart, it is easier for HR folks to automate the entire process and ensure timely management of objectives and tasks.

Implementing the definitions

In the first activity, the HR team conveys the clear meaning and difference between goals and objectives in management to all stakeholders via desired channels of communication. They may also set standards and procedures to ensure that the definitions are followed. Now this where the next step enters the scene – the actual implementation. We covered a small part of this step in the previous task wherein the use of cloud based performance evaluation software like SuccessDart was mentioned. In order to implement actions and set standards for employees to meet organizational goals and objectives with a clear cut separation between the two in terms of definition, it is vital to break down activities and order them. HR folks in consultation with senior and reporting stakeholders, break down the roles and responsibilities of each employee into tasks that match with the laid down company objectives and those that are best fit to achieve enterprise goals and milestones. Each task has to be solid and well defined and this would serve as the point of reference for an employee for self evaluation as well as company wide performance evaluation at set time periods. Each task need to serve a purpose that meets business objectives and contributes to a common vision or goal of the enterprise for a particular time period. The employees on their part needs to ensure that they set their own individual work goals to match with expected performance metrics. The HR team would work in close tandem with employees to guide them if they need assistance in translating definitions of tasks into actual productive work. The implementation procedures may be modified from time to time depending on analyzed performance metrics of the same. The corresponding procedures or tasks would be updated in the employees KRA and KPI scales and communicated to them by the HR team as and when new updates are rolled out.

mission and vision

Measuring Impact

This is the deciding factor that evaluates how effectively employees of an organization are equipped with knowledge about the company’s vision and objectives. After proper sessions and instructions regarding the definition and implementation practices for objective achievement, it is time to see how they fare in the business. In many scenarios, an appraisal or performance evaluation is the methodology used to identify successful followers of the organizations mission and vision. The HR team can decide which mode of performance evaluation is best suited for their organization. You can either adopt the traditional Bell Curve Model or the 360 Degree model or Continuous Feedback or any of the models that today’s organizations follow. Regardless of the model deployed, the actual importance is for the results that are measured. Irrespective of the time period of evaluation and the mode of appraisal you follow, there are flexible solutions like SuccessDart that will help to intelligently manage all aspects of performance evaluation from setting goals and objectives to measuring results and helping decision makers with solid reports and statistics to make sound decisions.

The above 3 stages are what HR folks pass through while ensuring that everyone in an organization is well aware of important goals and objectives as well as the key differences between the two. A proper understanding has to be reached and only if the 3 stages happen successfully would the entire organization be on the same page. A mission statement or a vision statement that a company proclaims as its moto will not be a reality if employees are not aligned to it as well as the policies and procedures of the organization. Transparent communication and monitored measurement of results achieved is the key to realizing the true potential of your workforce. Performance appraisal should be seen as a progressive communication channel to help employees identify their weaknesses and improve upon it to ultimately contribute more to achieving organizational goals. It should not be seen as a deterrent to creativity or innovation, the 2 of which are absolutely vital for any successful organization today.  

Today if you look at successful organizations across the globe and across industrial sectors, they have a common DNA. That is nothing but staff who understand what the organization stands for- its mission statement, its vision forward, its goals and its objectives. This exceptional understanding can be found in all aspects of operation right from the recruitment stage of a new employee. Hiring people who can be trained to understand the true management objective is the best way to grow an organization provided the objective strategy has been carefully drafted. The Human Resource department as exemplified in this blog plays an utterly important part in bringing about transformational changes within an organization by rightly executing strategies. These strategies would ensure that everyone on-board has a clear idea about the differences between company goals and company objectives.


Drive goals, engage employees and promote a culture of feedback.

Please Sign-Up below to book a free demo of SuccessDart.