Tips To Setting Effective Employee Goals And Objectives

by Srikant Chellappa Nov 19,2021

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Employee goals and objectives are not just mere numbers for an employee. They are something to work towards, a milestone representing growth and accomplishments that motivate us. Of course, when we achieve these goals, it also benefits the organization.

Essentially, workplace goals provide employees with a purpose and job satisfaction, and for an organization, they also grant results and success. Therefore, workplace goals are integral to an organization. For a manager, here are a few useful tips for you to follow, to set goals for your employees.

Personal Improvement Should Also Be A Focus

One of the main motives behind creating goals for your employees as a manager should be personal improvement. Employee goals which help them improve and gain new skills become a good goal by default. Personal improvement is a part and parcel of an employee’s development. Employees cannot remain static.

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Goals Should Be Attained Through Teamwork

One key to setting good employee goals is that they should be slightly unreachable. However, managers should not go to the extreme and set completely unreachable goals. If your goals are causing your employees to pull countless all-nighters or are stressing them out, they are completely missing the point. You don’t want your goals to burn out employees. You should aim for motivation.

Employee goals should ensure that employees do not work as individual contributors, but work with others to ensure the completion of goals. Goals that employees can easily meet are not challenging them enough or even engaging them. Contrarily, a goal that forces an employee to step out of their comfort zone is a goal that is challenging. And even better if the goal in question forces employees to engage with other employees.

Measure the Impact Of Goals

If we only counted goals in terms of numerical progress, then by that logic, it would be very easy to declare a goal as a failure or success. For setting employee goals, one thing you should keep in mind is measurability. It’s good if you can measure a goal in terms of numbers and even better if you can measure the impact of the goal. The impact of a goal is always a better indicator of success than the numerical status.

For example, an employee is given a goal where he needs to convince 50 other employees in the office to use a new software. In terms of numbers, if 50 employees have downloaded that software and used it even once, then the goal is successful. However, if those 50 employees stopped using the software after a period, then has the employee really succeeded at the goal?

Align Them to Organization Goals

We cannot tie all goals to team goals and the organization, that is true. However, when setting a goal for an employee, it is important to remember that as much as possible, a goal should contribute to the overall team and organization goals. If employee goals are not directly contributing to the team’s or the organization’s success, it should at least account for their personal development. If the goal is not even helping the employee improve professionally, then the goal shouldn’t exist in the first place.

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Keep Employee Goals Flexible

Ideally, you should be able to modify employee goals in the long run. Because, in the process of achieving a goal, the employee and manager might suddenly find that the objective of the goal needs to change. Or that they might need to add other objectives to the goal.

Make Employees Set Their Goals Themselves

Harvard Business Review, in their report, found that 14% of people who set their goals are 10 times more successful than their counterparts.

Last but not the least, this is one of the most important factors to consider when creating a goal. Does your goal match with what the employee has in mind? If it does, great, you can go ahead and set that goal. If it does not, you’ve got to find a way to meet in the middle with the employee. A goal that is set for an employee without an employee’s input is one that is doomed. If employees are not invested in a goal or even motivated by it, then they will not be able to pursue it.

Measure Their Overall Impact

This is one other thing you need to take into consideration. How does the goal you set for your employee affect you? Does it tie into any personal goals you have? And if it does, how do you measure the goal? How much is the employee contributing towards the goal? These are a few of the questions you should ask when creating goals for employees.

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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