SuccessFactors Goal Execution Module

Goal Execution



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A lot of our customers are overwhelmed by the SuccessFactors Goal Execution module but at the same time they also question practicality of the product when implemented. While we look back at this question, I believe we need to understand the philosophy behind the concept of Goal Execution as I see it. Appreciate the effectiveness and the need to adapt to the concept.

We all agree that one main dimension that affects performance of an employee is “motivation”. If we look back at DR Edwin Locke’s research on goal setting and motivation in the 60’s, it has been clearly established that specific and difficult goals, with feedback, lead to higher motivation and this has been substantiated by studies conducted at workplaces. So, how does goal-setting theory work?

  • Directs attention
  • Regulate effort
  • Increase persistence
  • Foster the development and application of task strategies and action plans

Most companies today have adopted the “SMART” Goal setting process but we also need to look at the 5 principles of the goal setting in parallel and strike the right balance which can help companies drive motivation and that is where goal execution plays a very significant role.

Clarity – The Goals have to be clear and unambiguous. It is clearly seen that when employees have clear goals and a definite time set for completion, it drives motivation through clear expectations rather than vague goal such as “Be Proactive” which has limited motivational value.


Challenge – Employees are motivated by achievement and their engagement and effort is driven by the sense of Significance. Tying the rewards to the goals make sure that there is sense of accomplishment and from an organization point of view its fulfilling to reward such goals. One has to also ensure that a right balance it maintained between Challenging and Realistic. Setting unrealistic challenging goals will be demotivating and may have worse effect than setting simple goals.

Commitment – Commitment can be driven by Proactive goal setting by employees or having a goal setting discussion where Managers set or cascade the goals to the employees or combination of these methods. Commitment is also driven by the difficulty of the goal and it is observed that difficult and challenging goals motivate employees and the rewards tied to such goals are also fulfilling.


Feedback – Constant engagement, reviews and discussion is important. Since the goals are measurable, it may be broken down into smaller milestones and regular feedbacks and checkpoints will keep the employees focussed and motivated. However one has to ensure that there is constructive feedback during the process.


Task Complexity – For goals or assignments that are highly complex, one has to ensure that the work targets do not go out of reach. It’s therefore important to Give realistic Time frame and Provide tools and opportunities to learn in order for the employee to develop required skill set to execute the goal


In summary,

  • Setting Specific and difficult goals, with feedback, lead to higher performance, particularly for simple rather than complex tasks
  • Goal commitment strengthen the effect of goal-setting on performance regardless of how the goal was set – self assigned, cascaded or discussed.


Rolling Arrays is Asia’s premier award winning HR transformation company, headquartered in Singapore with offices in 6 countries. Since its inception in transformation projects for more than 50 blue-chip clients across Asia. A consultative approach to HR processes, HR functions and HR software is Rolling Arrays core expertise and the primary catalyst for its success.

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