emPerform Goal Tree


As part of emPerform’s latest release is new enterprise goal management capabilities, including a company goal tree. We developed this feature for organizations that have established good practices of setting and tracking goals and KPIs with team members but need an easier way to segment larger company and department objectives into clear and actionable tasks.

For companies who still need to define a goal management strategy in their organizations or for HR teams who are revisiting how goals are set and tracked, this post will explore everything about Goal Trees and how and why they should be used.


What is a Company Goal Tree?

A goal tree is a visual representation of a company’s goals and objectives, organized hierarchically – like branches and leaves on a tree. A goal tree is a tool to break down larger, overarching goals into smaller, more specific, actionable steps and tasks. Each tree branch represents a sub-goal that supports the achievement of the higher-level goal.

The goal tree visualizes the relationships between different goals and the steps required to achieve them. It helps to prioritize and allocate resources effectively, improve communication and collaboration, and measure and track progress toward goals.


When Should You Use Goal Trees?

A goal tree can be helpful for organizations who are looking to better:

  • Define and align organizational goals: A goal tree helps break down overarching company goals into smaller, more specific, actionable goals and tasks, helping employees achieve actionable steps while staying connected to the broader objectives.
  • Prioritize and allocate resources: By visualizing the relationships between goals, a goal tree can help a company prioritize and allocate resources effectively.
  • Improve communication and collaboration: A goal tree can serve as a shared visual representation of the company’s goals and objectives, improving communication and collaboration across departments and teams.
  • Measure and track progress: A goal tree provides a clear and structured framework for tracking progress towards company goals, making it easier to identify areas where adjustments may be needed and helping leaders to ‘rollup’ the progress of larger objectives.


How is a Goal Tree Created?

A goal tree is typically created by first defining the overarching company goals and then breaking them down into smaller sub-goals until the desired level of specificity is reached. Supervisors and leaders can also establish and break-down department, team, and individual goals. The tree is then reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in the organization and team’s priorities and progress.


SMART Goals vs. Goal Trees:

Many HR teams struggle to get managers and employees to set and track effective SMART goals. Thinking about a goal tree might seem unattainable, so why should you use one over the other? It depends on the context and the specific needs of a company. Both “SMART” goals and formal goal trees have their benefits and limitations.

SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) are a simple and widely-used tool for setting and tracking goals. They provide a clear and concise way to define goals and assess progress.

A formal goal tree, on the other hand, provides a more comprehensive and structured approach to goal-setting and decision-making. It helps to break down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps and provides a visual representation of the relationships between goals.

There is no ‘right’ answer, and they are also not mutually exclusive. In some cases, a combination of both may be the best approach. For example, a company could use SMART goals to define specific objectives within a broader goal tree framework. The choice between the two ultimately depends on the company’s goals, the complexity of its organizational structure, and its available resources.


Can Small Companies Use Goal Trees?

Yes, small companies can use goal trees as a tool for setting and achieving their goals. In fact, goal trees can be particularly useful for small companies, as they provide a simple and straightforward way to organize and prioritize goals and to ensure that everyone is working towards common objectives.

By breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps, a goal tree can help small companies allocate their limited resources effectively and track their progress toward their goals. Additionally, a goal tree can provide a clear framework for decision-making.

It is important to note that while a goal tree can be a useful tool, there are other effective ways for small companies to set and achieve their goals.


What Are the Benefits of Proper Goal Alignment?

Regardless of what tools or processes you use to establish clarity in roles and alignment in tasks, it will undoubtedly pay off. Research has shown that companies who invest in a proper goal alignment strategy, not just a goal tree, tend to experience several benefits, including:

  • Increased motivation and engagement: When employees understand and are aligned with the company’s goals, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work.
  • Improved performance: Proper goal alignment leads to better decision-making and resource allocation, resulting in improved performance and better outcomes.
  • Enhanced collaboration and communication: A clear and shared understanding of goals can help to improve communication and collaboration across departments and teams.
  • Better risk management: By setting specific and achievable goals, companies can better manage risk and avoid over-extending themselves.
  • Increased innovation: When everyone works towards common goals, there is increased motivation and collaboration to develop new and innovative solutions.
  • Better decision-making: A clear and shared understanding of goals and priorities can lead to better decision-making and more effective resource allocation.

However, it is important to note that simply investing in a goal alignment strategy or employing a goal tree is not enough. Organizations must also regularly review and adjust their goals as needed and ensure that employees have the resources and support they need to achieve them.

Goal trees are a great way to take something as critical as organizational goals and break-them down for action. But while a goal tree can be a useful tool, it is not the only way for organizations to set and achieve their goals. The key is to find a goal-setting method that works best for the company and to regularly review and adjust the goals as needed.


Start aligning goals and seeing results with emPerform.