Goal-Flourishing: How to Drive Behavioural Changes in Employees

Goal-Flourishing: How to Drive Behavioural Changes in Employees

Posted on March 14, 2018 by Tom Siddle.

Goal-setting as part of performance management discussions is a common and effective leadership practice. Realistic and business-relevant goals align the work focus of employees with wider company objectives, ensuring individuals and teams are contributing to the overall success of the organisation.

An effective goal for an employee is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound – a useful tool known as SMART objectives in the HR space. Setting goals that fulfil these criteria will increase the chances of a goal being achieved as it facilitates the goal management process. SMART objectives are often performance-related objectives with quantifiable metrics (e.g. increase sales by 10%) – but what about objectives relating to behavioural changes within employees?

This is an increasingly relevant question within performance management as the use of behavioural Competency Frameworks become more prevalent within HR best practices. Competency Frameworks define the key employee behaviours that are required for high job (and subsequent organisational) performance. Ideally, employees should have their performance managed through both quantifiable KPI’s as well as competency objectives focused on behavioural changes.

A recent review by Kenneth Nowack in the Consulting Psychology Journal explored how organisations should manage their talent through these behavioural changes. Upon reviewing the literature, and based on his previous work in the coaching domain, Nowack proposes a three-component model to guide practitioners in facilitating behavioural changes in line with competencies required for job performance.


1. Enlighten

This is the informational stage where the trainees signature behavioural strengths are established before they are provided with accurate insight around the specific changes required to achieve the goal. They then take the time to compare their future ideal self, following behavioural changes, with the current real self. This distinction helps to emphasize the potential importance of the change whilst providing a psychological starting point and the finish line.

2. Encourage

In this second stage trainees should be motivated in the direction of their goal and encouraged that the behavioural change required is within their capability. Doing this increases self-efficacy; their belief in their ability to achieve the objective and improve in the required areas. This stage also includes exploring the more specific skills required to enact the overall change and discussing, coaching or upskilling employees in these areas as appropriate.

3. Enable

The final component looks at more practical tools that can be used to promote change between the initial goal intention and goal accomplishment time points. This includes techniques such as “nudging” (reminders), practice plans, cultivating peer and/or social support, evaluation and feedback.

Practitioner Take-Home Points
• Use goal-setting to align the behaviour of employees in line with competencies required for job and organisational performance
• Make sure goals are set using the SMART methodology where appropriate, this is especially true for quantifiable performance-related goals
• For competency development use behavioural change objectives to upskill employees functionally as well as technically
• The below three-step model can be used as a guide and tool to coach employees towards accomplishing their soft-skill objectives

Enlighten, Encourage, and Enable – Individual Change Model (Nowack, 2017)

Front Talent supports clients with the design, modification and integration of Competency Frameworks as well with Assessment Centres to identify behavioural strengths and development areas against frameworks. Additionally, we design and deliver customised Behavioural Competency Trainings to upskill teams in competencies which are critical for job performance.

If you would like to find out more about any of these services, please get in touch at info@fronttalent.com or call the office on +971 4 253 3517.

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