To understand how goals help employees shape culture, it's helpful to examine how a culture is formed in an organization. When employees join a business, they want to fit into the existing culture. That's because membership offers social status and a sense of belonging. They will succeed in joining by duplicating the behaviors of people who have influence or who have long-standing membership in the culture.


New employees get exposed quickly to the shared beliefs of your small-business culture. These beliefs are expressed in your policies and procedures, which formalize the work people do, and in other forms, such as training and website content. There are many benefits of shared beliefs in a business, according to Eric Van den Steen in the RAND Journal of Economics, including greater delegation of work to employees, less monitoring of their work, and more rapid coordination of work. In a sense, shared beliefs make it easier to manage a business. If you write common goals that reflect the shared beliefs of your workplace culture, employees will find it easier to meet them, especially because the goals are familiar.


In the same way that employees teach cultural beliefs to new employees, they share common goals. Business owners might use employee input to write common goals, because they get more buy-in when implementing those goals. A common goal gives a group a shared purpose. It encourages them to work together as a team and achieve an end result. What differs from business to business is the amount of flexibility a business owner gives to employees to interpret the meaning of a common goal.

Shared Value

It's important for some employees to believe their work has a purpose beyond helping you meet current revenue goals. If you set out to create common goals that are profitable and valuable to society, then you can expect more support from employees. Employees then see the benefits of what you want to achieve as good for both business and society. One way to do this is to develop the ideas that individuals or groups suggest for new products or services.

Influence of Goals

Employees need something to motivate them to keep performing year after year. If you enlist their assistance in setting goals, they will feel more motivated to perform. Not everyone feels the same level of motivation, but the employees with higher motivation can promote a culture of achievement. They can foster higher performance from their less motivated peers. A culture of achievement makes it more appealing for everyone to belong to the culture and promote the shared values and beliefs. Employees' efforts to achieve goals that require teamwork will shape the overall culture in a positive way.