Whether you’ve been in business for two months or 22 years, you probably have goals for your company. These may be sales objectives, marketing initiatives or cost-cutting measures. Maybe you want to increase employee engagement or track retention. Perhaps you’re challenging team members to set quarterly resolutions. Whatever the case, goal setting and tracking tools can hold you and your staff accountable and measure your progress along the way.
What are goal setting and tracking tools?
Goal setting and tracking tools are software businesses can use to establish objectives, record progress, and understand how key performance indicators (KPIs) help them achieve specific goals. Most goal setting and tracking tools offer varied functionality, but they all hinge on setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals and establishing objectives and key results (OKRs). A projected endpoint enables the tool to mark and measure key points of progress.
Tip: Align with your team on your overarching goals before tracking progress, ensuring each person is on the same page from the start.
What are the top goal setting and tracking tools?
As project management software has evolved over the last decade, so have tools for goal setting and tracking. The best apps encourage productivity, foster collaboration, and offer multiple pricing plans. [Find more aspects to look for in our project management software buying guide.]
Here are 11 options to consider for your company.
Asana offers handy tracking tools applicable to nearly every vertical of an organization. It marries collaboration with goal tracking to keep your team progressing. Among the platform’s 12 key tools, the “goals” feature enables teams to set specific objectives and track their progress, with the ability to input sub-goals and monitor team members’ contributions.
Asana offers four plans: Basic (which is free), Premium, Business and Enterprise. The “goals” feature is only available in the Business subscription, but both the Basic and Premium plans offer a task-tracking feature that can double as a manual goal-tracking system for smaller teams.
Trello is a Kanban-style web application with an emphasis on increasing productivity. Kanban – characterized by lean lists and efficient, continuous improvement – emerged in the 1950s from Toyota’s manufacturing arm. Now Trello has brought list-making into the 21st century. Using the Kanban approach, your team can use the platform to break larger goals into “mini-goals” that follow a progression from “not started” to “completed” columns.
Thanks to Trello’s high customizability, teams in various industries can benefit from its productivity tracking. It offers remote teams seamless collaboration and integrations with hundreds of other helpful apps. It has four pricing plans: Free, Standard, Premium and Enterprise.
Engagedly is flexible performance management software that claims to increase employee engagement by 90% after onboarding. Its E3 platform focuses on performance execution, enabling professional development and driving employee engagement. Businesses in industries such as consulting, professional services, healthcare, nonprofit, education, government, technology and financial services can all benefit from Engagedly’s interface. [Related article: How Professional Development Helps Your Small Business]
The platform allows teams to take control of goal accomplishment strategies and aligns objectives with business and department goals. With OKRs and progress bars, Engagedly’s software helps you examine milestones, encourages mentorship, and keeps historical data for goal-tracking success. For expert performance and goal tracking, Engagedly’s starting annual agreement is $5,000, with E3 pricing tiers for Practitioner, Leader, and Champion levels.
Remote and hybrid teams looking for a modern all-in-one intranet solution should consider Friday. It includes powerful features like engaging employee directories, cross-channel searching, integrations with Slack and other tools, and various customizations. With Friday’s goal-tracking functionality, you can efficiently address common pain points like poor visibility and accessibility, irregular progress, and workflow integration. The provider offers four pricing tiers: Free, Individual, Team and Company. All levels except the free version offer goal-tracking services. [Learn more about Slack and other internal communications apps that can aid your business.]
15Five combines software with education and a supportive community for an integrated ecosystem of performance management, development, and training. Mostly used by leaders interested in human resources management, 15Five enables businesses to build high-performing teams through continuous performance management. [Do you know the lingo? Here’s a glossary of terms HR managers should know.]
Depending on your company’s finances, a potential downside is that the software does not offer a free plan. The Engage, Perform and Focus tiers provide business goal-tracking capabilities for operations managers and executives, while the Total Platform level satisfies the varied needs of whole enterprises. 15Five’s robust insights keep teams aligned with their goals, communicate OKRs clearly, and guide individual employees’ progress based on their unique skill sets.
Tip: Complement your goal-setting system with tools that measure employee performance. You can use these tools similarly to set objectives and evaluate progress over time.
Designed for use by agile teams, Jira remains a top-rated software development tool for issue tracking and management. Linked to Trello through parent company Atlassian, Jira uses the Kanban approach and flexible planning to enable value-driven prioritization of tasks and extensive reporting with actionable results.
The Jira product line includes Jira Software, Jira Work Management, Jira Service Management and Jira Align. For enterprises looking to align strategy with outcomes, Jira Align promotes collaboration between business and technology teams while optimizing customer value.
Lattice is an easy-to-use success platform that offers continuous performance management capabilities for businesses. Specifically, Lattice Goals connects individual achievements with OKRs for organizational success.
Lattice not only provides goal setting, tracking, and reporting functionality, but it also integrates with popular platforms like Slack, Salesforce, and Microsoft Teams to meet users where they already work. Lattice offers several pricing options, allowing you to bundle various features for the system that works best for your operations. [If you partner with Salesforce, don’t miss our tips to get the most out of the Salesforce CRM.]
Created with small businesses in mind, Weekdone’s OKR software helps small and midsize businesses as well as startups establish a goal-oriented culture with objectives, goal initiatives and hierarchies, OKR reports, and goal-based coaching and onboarding.
Team and company leaders set the goals and general direction for employees, who then develop specific objectives and key results to track and measure their progress throughout a projected time frame. Weekdone even supports your team with OKR coaches, helping you develop good habits and a successful, goal-oriented company culture.
While Namely also offers HR, payroll, benefits, and talent management, the software’s goal setting and tracking functionality enables leaders of midsize companies to give personalized attention to employees. You can set individual employees’ goals, track their progress, link their objectives to higher-level team goals and initiatives, and make notes in the software for future reference.
Databox offers a central dashboard with multiple tools and functions to track performance. If your team relies on several software platforms to track objectives, Databox stands out from other apps by enabling you to mix and match metrics for a more complete picture of how your team performs against its sales, marketing, and operations goals.
Databox’s Free Forever plan allows three data source connections, use of standard features and more than 60 integrations. Paid plans (Starter, Professional and Performer) include more connections, users, data boards and frequent updates.
For visual workers, Goalscape is powerful goal setting and tracking software. Based on neuroscience, Goalscape lets you create a central goal and build a dynamic graph of priorities that shade in as the goal approaches completion. The easy-to-use software, which works for both personal and professional endeavors, allows you to share your work with team members and comes with a free 14-day trial.
Bottom Line: The right goal-tracking software for your company depends on your team’s internal and external goals, the long-term cost, and how much you need to scale or customize the platform.
What are the benefits of goal setting and tracking tools?
Goal setting and tracking tools can have a profound impact on your business. Follow our tips for setting better business goals, and the benefits are yours to reap.
With clear goals in mind, teams have a path to follow, which boosts productivity through meaningful work activities. Decreasing or eliminating processes that don’t contribute to a specific goal enables each team member to spend their time on tasks that serve the company’s larger vision. See our small business productivity guide for more insights on increasing employee performance.
Increased team unity
Teams with a common goal are almost four times as likely to remain committed to their company compared to those without a shared goal, according to BI Worldwide. A central business objective – with measurable progress accessible to each employee – motivates teams to work together to achieve the objective. A positive byproduct is reduced employee turnover.
Leaders who establish SMART goals with clear KPIs decrease confusion among their staff about their job’s purpose, mission and daily responsibilities. With specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals, each team member can conceptualize their role from the perspective of helping the company progress toward the end objective.