Posted on September 7, 2016

Goal-Setting: 5 Simple Steps for Managers

Only 35 percent of employees say they have clear performance goals. That’s bad news for employers, who should understand that employee engagement affects business metrics such as client retention, profitability and growth.

Setting goals for employees promotes engagement for associates and empowers managers to evaluate their reports on measurable, visible 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.

1. Start with you

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. Now, you’re ready to translate that to your team.

2. Link goals to behaviors

This makes evaluation more objective for both sides and removes ambiguity. First, begin with the end! Define the goal—for example, scheduling two sales appointments per week. Then identify two to three behaviors that are likely to drive a successful outcome. Now the employee knows where she is expected to go, as well as how to get there.

3. Focus on self-development

Generally, employees should have six to seven goals, one or two of which are tied to personal self-development. This type of personal goal-setting leads to long-lasting change and promotes greater engagement with the organization and its mission.

There are four important steps to establishing self-development goals for your employees and for yourself:

# Assess your current situation.
# Take inventory of your interests.
# Spot check with others.
# Set specific actions.

4. Use documentation

Goals should be documented in writing both formally and informally. The formal process might include a standard form, a performance-development plan or other assessments, specific timelines and checkpoints, and occasional updates.

Informal documentation might take the form of notes written from regular development conversations that support the formal process.

5. Keep goals top of mind

It’s important that goals be set at least annually and then revisited throughout the year for tweaking as appropriate. Even though goals are subject to change, managers might consider creating a one-pager for each employee that lists that associate’s goals, the organization’s strategies and the personal-development goals. Put the one-pager in a place visible to the employee, and refer to it periodically 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, which in turn leads to improved products and services, happier customers and a better bottom-line outcome for your organization.

Paycor's HR solutions enable employers to efficiently and effectively handle responsibilities like goal-setting and performance management. Contact us to see how we can meet your HR needs.