How To Help Your Employees Set Performance Goals for The New Year

A brand-new year (and a new decade, in this case!) is a great time for starting on new goals—for your employees, your company, and yourself. It can be challenging for employees to exceed their best performance without goals in place. Performance goals help make your team members better employees and help steer them along their professional development journey. In this blog, I’ll show you how help your employees set performance goals for the new year.

Make them SMART

To create SMART performance goals, remember the acronym. These are goals that are:

Specific: including the who, what, when, where and how of the goal.

Measurable: includes numeric or descriptive measure that defines quantity, quality, cost, etc.

Achievable: includes setting goals that are within the employees’ control and influence.

Relevant: includes goals that contribute to department and company mission.

Timely: includes a target date for completion of milestones within the goal.

Broad goals like “sell more” aren’t very helpful because they don’t include any of the SMART descriptions. Instead, consider a goal such as “I will contact 10 new businesses per week” or “I will add 10 more customers per month.”

Define and communicate the company’s objectives

Be sure you have clearly defined the company’s key objectives. In this way, you and your team can see how their own professional goals fit in with, and affect, the progress of reaching the company-wide goals. Sharing and updating employees on the company’s strategy helps employees see how their personal career goals affect the progress of reaching company-wide goals. People who don’t understand the connection between the role they play within the company’s success may become disengaged. No matter what role that employee plays, they should be able to discuss how their effort feeds into the company’s objectives.

Provide development opportunities

Your employees are your company’s best asset. To keep them engaged and motivated as they grow with the company, offer them access to training programs related to company goals. Whether it’s learning new software that helps keep everyone organized to effective sales techniques to new accounting or HR laws, equipping your team with ways to succeed in reaching their career goals not only aids in accomplishing the overall company mission, but improves morale as well.

Ensure goals are attainable yet challenging

When you review employee and company-wide goals, make sure everyone gets a voice. You want to set stretch targets that challenge them and allow them to grow without being so aggressive that they’re unattainable. But at the same time, you don’t want goals to be too easy to achieve, either. If you can find the right balance, stretch goals can create energy and momentum that motivates your team as they achieve improved performance. Remember that poorly set goals can destroy morale and productivity, which can seriously affect the company’s overall success.

Monitor progress

Set regular check-ins to ensure each goal’s milestones are being met. Don’t wait for an annual review or project completion to evaluate progress toward goals. Instead, review both short-term and long-term goals as often as weekly. Keep in mind there’s no need to micromanage: ask your employees for their opinions on how often to review each goal you’ve set. This can be especially important if a goal includes new skills for your team member. If you need to make adjustments to the goal’s milestones, do it—after all, one of the few things we can count on is change!