Business’ Objectives Vs. Employee Aspirations – Can They Truly Be Aligned?

A new approach to aligning business’ objectives and employee aspirations through collaboration for human capital

The key objectives of most businesses are the same – these include:

Financial (making more revenue and profits)

Operational (utilizing resources to the maximum possible)

Strategic (maintaining or expanding market share)

Social (achieving objectives related to environment or public welfare)

While keeping these objectives in mind, the core agenda of a business leader is to meet the needs of various stakeholders like management, shareholders, customers, and employees.

Alignment between business objectives and employee aspirations

The needs of all stakeholders are unique and must be met in order for the business to be successful. Shareholders want the business to make money, customers want the business to provide good products and services, employees want the business to offer good growth opportunities, and management wants the business to be profitable to meet all its objectives.

The disconnect: Business objectives don’t always align with employee aspirations

As businesses strive to meet the needs of various stakeholders, it can be difficult to strike a balance between meeting those objectives as some of them may seem to contradict the others. More often than not, meeting shareholders’ expectations gets priority over meeting employee aspirations and the logic is simple: unless the business thrives, employees’ interests can’t be protected.

With this background, is it even possible to simultaneously meet the shareholders’ objective while also meeting employee aspirations? According to many experts, it’s not impossible, but it definitely is difficult.

It is important to remember that the objectives of both the shareholders and employees are not mutually exclusive – a business can simultaneously meet the objectives of shareholders, management, and customers while also ensuring that its employees are happy and fulfilled. In order to achieve this delicate balance, it is important for businesses to have clear objectives and understand their responsibilities in relation to each stakeholder.

“And remember, people aren’t just employees. They are your customers and your stakeholders. Increasingly, they drive the organization’s conscience and expect organizations to engage on contentious issues of fairness and equity — in society as well as at work.” Chris Howard, Gartner Chief of Research

Business objectives take precedence over employee objectives

We’ve often seen that business objectives take precedence over any other objective. Employee objectives take a back seat and as a result, as we saw during the pandemic when the first wave happened, companies just laid-off employees to cut costs.

“Guy Ryder, the director of United Nations’ International Labour Organization, now estimates 30 million jobs were lost in the first quarter of 2020 alone.​​” Source

Since the business situation wasn’t good and companies weren’t making money, the easiest control over cost became the people cost.

The disconnect between employee aspirations and business objectives can lead to tension and dissatisfaction on both sides. Employees feel they are not being given an optimal environment to contribute their best work and as a result, the business may not be able to meet its objectives. It’s important to find a balance between meeting business objectives and ensuring that employees feel valued.

So, how can this conundrum be resolved?

To put it simplistically, it is relatively easier to look at achieving balance between business objectives and employee aspirations in the services industry as for one, they are employee-driven and there is sub-optimal utilisation of human capital. And if the balance is achieved here, it will address the bulk of the problem as services contribute to maximum volume of the workforce worldwide. The reason for this relative ease is that, most service-driven businesses, it is not feasible to have full utilization of human capital because demand is based on seasons and other external factors. For example, hospitality is a seasonal business, the medical industry also has its ups and downs, and the same is applicable for construction – periods of frantic activity followed by low activity. There is demand in pockets.

Same in the IT industry – every large business maintains a bench of about 10-15%, which is significant. People on the bench have high anxiety levels, they live with the fear that they can lose their job if they are unable to find a project to fit in.

The downside of low human capital utilization

  • Employees are sitting idle, being a liability
  • Employees are not generating revenue for the business
  • Fear of losing the job makes employees anxious and this can become a mental health issue

Understanding expectations: What employees want

The workplace has changed dramatically in the past decade. With advancements in technology, the globalization of business, and the rise of the freelance economy, employees now have more choices than ever before. They can work from anywhere, for anyone, and on their own schedule. This newfound freedom has given employees a sense of control over their lives and careers that was once inconceivable.

As a result, employers are finding that they need to offer more than just a good salary and job security to attract and retain top talent.

“According to new research of more than 600 US businesses with 50-500 employees, 63.3% of companies say retaining employees is actually harder than hiring them.” Source

If companies want to stay ahead of the curve, they need to meet these expectations by creating an environment where employees feel valued and supported.

Here are three key employee aspirations:Key Employee Aspirations include growth/compensation, Job satisfaction and job security

  1. Growth/learning/ compensation 
  2. Job satisfaction/fulfilment
  3. Job security

Employees expect growth opportunities and compensation that is fair and competitive. Good business culture and open communication are important. They want to be able to contribute to the business’s growth and find fulfilment in seeing their efforts acknowledged. A workplace culture that supports learning and development is important to them. Job security is also a key expectation and it directly impacts mental health.

A new approach: Balancing business objectives and employee aspirations through collaborationCollaborate for talent to balance business objectives and employee aspirations

It is not entirely possible to balance the two, but there is a possibility to strike a balance to a large extent.

We need to adapt HR practices to embrace this change and create an environment that makes employees feel valued and engaged.

An unconventional approach to dealing with this challenge is to collaborate for talent with other businesses rather than compete for it. A case in point is the recent war for talent between two IT companies where the employee was offered almost 6 times the salary normally earmarked for that role and such occurrences are becoming common by the day. If we keep competing for resources and thus escalating pay packages, very soon the industry will lose its competitiveness which will be detrimental to the interest of our human capital too.

Imagine a scenario where you could borrow a resource for the term of your requirement rather than having to hire them full-time?

On the other hand, imagine a second scenario where you could lend your on-bench or under-utilized resources and create silent revenue streams without any sales effort?

With these new revenues and higher utilization rates of human resources, companies can increase their profitability and thus have the ability to share some of it with the employees as what we call, a “utilization bonus” and plough some back in L&D thus stemming attrition. Not to mention, taking employees off the bench and giving them exposure to new domains and work cultures will give them newer learnings and make their whole engagement richer.

These possibilities already exist and have been made possible through cloud-based talent-sharing platforms. The future belongs to those who are willing to adapt to the change and convert adversity into opportunity.

“Countless studies have shown that to be effective, organizational objective setting and management needs to be an ongoing, agile and continuous process. Making the change to a continuous model takes time and rigor as it requires new processes, additional training at all levels, and new technology to support it. But for those pioneering organizations that make the transition, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze. And those that don’t are at serious risk of being left in the dust by their more agile and motivated competition.” Doug Dennerline, Betterworks’ CEO 


Benefits of Collaboration for Human CapitalBenefits of collaboration for Human Capital


  • Increased resource utilisation levels
  • Reduced human capital expenses
  • Increased profitability
  • Diverse learning & development opportunities for employees
  • Utilization bonus given to employees boosts morale
  • Enhanced job satisfaction levels
  • Better mental health environment for employees
  • Improved employee retention levels



It is clear that striving to achieve a balance between business objectives and employee aspirations can unlock immense value for the business and that’s the need of the hour as it can, not just help put brakes on the huge attrition of talent we are witnessing across all sectors of the economy but also lead to bring about long-term sustainability and competitive positioning for all businesses. And to achieve this balance, it is time that we start to collaborate for human capital rather than compete for it.

Want to explore collaboration as a way to fulfill your short-term human capital needs without having to onboard employees? We can help, Fill in this form and our team will get in touch with you.

Seema Sharma (Media Manager)

Seema produces content for SBB’s blog and LinkedIn page. She has over 15 years of experience in Marketing Communications. She writes copy for landing pages, email sequences, websites, case studies, etc.


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