Only 35% of employees say they have clear performance goals. That’s bad news for employers because those goals are directly tied to employee engagement which affects business metrics such as client retention, profitability and growth.
In fact, a recent Gallup poll found engaged employees are 21% more productive than non-engaged employees. What would your business be willing to invest if they had a way to increase productivity 21%?
Setting goals for employees promotes engagement for associates and empowers managers to evaluate their individual team members on measurable, viable facts—not just by “feel.” Clearly defined goals increase the chance of success for both employees and their supervisors.
Here are five tips Paycor HR professionals recommend for powerful goal setting that can change the way your organization operates.
- Start with Your Goals
- Connect Goals to Behaviors
- Focus on Self Development
As a manager, reflect on your own goals. Think about how they relate to your departmental goals and how they tie to your organization’s strategic goals overall. Be prepared to translate that to your team.
Keep in mind, a good leader wants his/her team to do a better job. A great leader wants the team to be better people. It’s hard to lead people, so start by focusing on your own self. Be mindful of what you say, but more importantly, be mindful of what you do—your employees are watching.
Identifying particular goals for an employee makes an evaluation more objective for both sides and removes ambiguity. Instead of making an assessment based on feelings or assumptions, focus on specifics like numbers, occasions and details so employees clearly understand the expectations and can work toward desired goals.
Start with the end in mind. For example, you want your sales reps to schedule two appointments each week. So, identify two to three behaviors that are likely to result in reaching that outcome. Now the employee knows where he is expected to go as well as how to get there.
Managers should challenge their employees to set both professional and personal goals. How you break it down is up to you and what works best for the employee’s job position. Maybe it’s best to set weekly or monthly goals. Perhaps quarterly will do. For professional goals, determine what is appropriate for the job, but try to also list at least one goal that’s tied to personal self-development.
Personal goal setting leads to long-lasting change and promotes greater engagement with your organization and its mission. There are four important steps to establishing self-development goals for yourself and your employees:
- Assess your current situation.
- Take inventory of your interests.
- Spot check with others.
- Set specific actions.
Be sure to document your goals in writing, both formally and informally. The formal process might include a standard form, a performance development plan or other assessment, specific timelines, checkpoints and occasional updates.
Informal documentation might take the form of notes written from regular development conversations that support the formal process.
It’s important to set goals annually at a minimum and then revisit them throughout the year for tweaking as necessary. Be sure to include a stretch goal—one that would be especially difficult yet extremely rewarding to attain.
Yes, goals are subject to change. Even so, take time to put them on paper. Consider creating a one-pager for each employee that lists the associate’s goals, personal-development strategies and the organization’s overall objectives. Place the one-pager in a spot that’s visible to the employee and refer to it during one-to-one meetings—not just during the annual performance evaluation period.
Goal setting and performance management are critical factors that support employee engagement. And an engaged workforce leads to improved products and services, happier customers, greater employee satisfaction and a better bottom line for your organization.