Set Meaningful, Measurable, and Motivating Employee Goals

Are you and your employees setting goals for 2014? Now’s the time to finalize your plans for the year ahead. Follow these five steps to help ensure that your expectations are met and that everyone’s efforts drive the business’s success.

1. Align all goals. Define your annual strategy for the business and then develop departmental and individual goals that support it. Explain to employees how their efforts will contribute to the company’s overall growth.

2. Get employees involved. Make everyone part of the process. Why? In a study, call-center employees who set their own goals outperformed peers who were assigned goals by 37 percent. Guide your employees, but let them “own” their goals; they’ll feel more responsible for getting results. All goals should be “SMART”: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-specific. Leave no doubt about how you and each employee will know whether a goal has been met.

3. Find the sweet spot for motivation. The best goals are neither too easy nor too hard to reach. Consider breaking down large targets into a series of short-term “stretch” goals, which require focus and effort but are motivating rather than overwhelming. (Check out our previous post “How to Set Appropriate Sales Goals.”)

4. Provide the resources employees need to succeed. Identify any potential roadblocks and ways in which you can support employees in meeting their goals. For example, you may need to offer training or supply a mentor.

5. Require progress reports. Have employees submit a brief weekly report on what they’ve done to reach their goals. People who regularly write down their objectives and share their follow-through with someone else are more successful in achieving their goals than those who don’t.

Share your best practices for helping employees reach their goals by leaving a comment below.

About Amy Beth Miller

Amy Beth Miller is a professional writer and editor who has been helping people succeed in business for more than a decade. She has written news articles, features, blogs, newsletters, e-letters, white papers and training manuals.
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