Setting goals for employees can be a time-consuming process, and the benefits aren’t always apparent.
However, goal setting for employees is an extremely useful tool, as properly set goals can increase employee engagement, foster two-way communication, increase efficiency, and create a greater sense of accountability.
The trick is, setting goals that both speak to employees and make progress towards organizational goals. If managers don’t go into the process with a strong plan, goal setting can feel like a waste of time for everybody involved.
Below is a rough outline of a plan you can use just set goals for your employees that just so happen to also benefit your company.
Consider Relevant Company Goals
One of a manager’s biggest responsibilities is to develop employees in a way that supports the success of the entire organization. When the goals of individual employees are lined up with the bigger goals of the company, it benefits the manager, employees, and the company.
In order to align both employee goals and company goals, it’s helpful to layout company goals first. Company goals typically fall under the following broadly defined categories: higher productivity, fewer accidents, higher quality, lower turnover, or more innovation.
Set Goals with Employees
Employee engagement is the key to any successful company. According to a poll by Gallup, of employees who say their manager collaborates with them on goal seating, 67 percent are engaged in their jobs.
Managers that collaborate with their employees when it comes to setting goals engage them in the process, and in their job. Employees are more likely to take ownership over the goals that are set if they have a hand in creating them. When you sit down to talk with employees about goals, the conversation should involve their professional strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and personal career goals. This discussion can allow you to fine-tune personalized goals for each individual employee.
Set SMART Goals
SMART is an acronym for a proven goal-setting strategy that stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Specific and measurable goals are ones that can be clearly defined and measured. Trying to “lose weight” is neither a specific nor a measurable goal. Trying to lose 15 pounds is both specific and measurable.
Achievability is a bit trickier to define. A good measuring stick is to look at past performance and expect that an employee should be able to repeat and slightly exceed a previous good performance.
When it comes to setting goals for employees, goals ought to be relevant to both the employee and the company. Setting a goal for higher productivity will be meaningless to an employee unless they can see some type of benefit, such as a bonus, raise, or promotion.
Time-bound goals have a deadline. The deadline should refer back to achievability and relevance. Do not set a deadline so soon that it makes the goal unachievable. Do not set a deadline so far into the future that it makes the goal almost irrelevant.
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