Helping Your Employees Set Effective Goals

By  //  July 27, 2022

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Assessing and appraising employees is it difficult job for anyone involved in human resources. For the employee, it can be an arduous experience. For the employer, it could be time-consuming and lead to problems if not done properly. That’s where smart goals come into play to help managers more effectively appraise their teams.

It’s one aspect of a continuous performance management process that can help everybody do better over time. SMART goals are a great way for your employees to set and achieve more. They help employees focus their efforts on achieving results that matter most to the company. By using these effective goal-setting techniques, you can inspire your workers to work harder and smarter than ever before. Here’s how to get started with that process.

Specific Goals

Specific goals are the foundation of effective goal-setting in any workplace, business, or industry. But what defines a specific goal? It needs to be clear, concise, and outline what the employee hopes to achieve. Specific goals are detailed instead of vague.

Instead of broadly stating you’re going to increase sales by 5%, you need to define the parameters of how you’re going to increase sales by 5%, which sales you’re going to increase, and more specific details of the goal. Specific goals translate to more motivated—not to mention happy and productive—employees throughout the entire organization. That’s not just good for morale; it’s good for the entire business in the long term.

Measurable Goals

Specific details can help define your goals, but part of any performance management system is monitoring and measuring your progress. After all, it makes sense that you would want to measure the outcome of your goals and assess their progress. First, you need to define your metrics. How are you going to measure the goal? What’s your benchmark for success? Why are you undertaking the goal in the first place? How are you going to quantify your results?

Once you’ve answered all these questions your goal is measurable. Measuring the goal is only part of the process, however. You need to make sure you can achieve it as well, which is the next step in the SMART process. Any performance management process is going to have some kind of metrics involved.

It ultimately depends on the organization itself and what they hope to measure in the long term. Whatever the case may be, quantifying your results is an important part of SMART planning and should not be overlooked during the process.

Achievable Goals 

Setting goals for any work endeavor should always include the question, “can I actually achieve this goal?” Goals should be challenging, but they should also inspire you to work hard toward achieving them. Easy goals probably won’t give you much satisfaction in the end, but they can be very valuable when it comes to working on projects or working with your team. More complicated goals can help you be more effective as a member of the team itself.

Of course, you want to make sure your goals aren’t unrealistic. Otherwise, you won’t be able to achieve them and will fail. Decide if you’re working towards something meaningful and worthwhile. By aiming for goals that are viable rather than impossible, you can set your organization and employees up for success in the future. Achievable goals are a critical part of performance management and should not be overlooked by management or their teams.

Relevant Goals

Putting the “R” in SMART goals is the idea of making your goals relevant. But what does that even mean in the broader context of setting goals at your organization? It’s simple: your goals need to be relevant to the individual, to the organization, and the mission as a whole.

A goal should be something an employee wants to do, can benefit from, or needs. It should be something they feel like they should strive toward and that they can benefit from achieving. If goals aren’t relevant to the employee, they’re going to have a problem accomplishing them and probably approach it with apathy instead of direction/focus. Goals need to be relevant to the company and align with its mission, values, and vision.

When employees are working toward a common goal, they might feel like they’re working towards something bigger than themselves and find themselves fitting into the overall goal of the company. Finally, goals need to be relevant to the industry and help meet its needs in a definable way. Making your goals relevant is an important part of this goal-setting process and can integrate well with A continuous performance management process to help your employees be the best they can be at your organization.

Time-Bound Goals

You might see the phrase time-bound goal and wonder what the heck does that even mean? It just means that it’s a goal that has a deadline. Deadlines can be tricky and challenging for some, but they do offer important benchmarks for getting things done promptly. They’re especially good for focusing on what needs to be done every day, every week, or even every month. If you have tight deadlines that you can work within, you can meet your goals successfully.

Setting a deadline for your goal and sticking to it will help you define better goals and monitor them more effectively. Furthermore, you open yourself up to better feedback if you can do things on time. They also help you focus on what’s happening at the moment instead of the big picture. Ultimately, a time-bound goal is a trackable and accomplishable goal, making it one of the most crucial parts of the SMART goal system.