Begin 2020 with Employee Goal Setting

Yellow road sign saying "A goal without a plan is just a wish".

Organizational leaders have a ton on their plate during this time of year. Between juggling their workloads and meeting year-end deadlines they still have to manage their teams and guide them on a path for success.

For many employees, both their work and home lives are fast-paced environments that require meeting deadlines. When you are moving at such high speeds to mark things off a checklist, it's easy to overlook the big picture. Goal setting is an essential part of work and home lives and as organizational leaders, it is important to encourage your staff to make the time for setting goals.

Goal setting should be exciting, the goals one sets for themselves are what help shape the future. Goals give the power for directing daily responsibilities and setting a sense of purpose. In a work setting without a dedicated plan to set and meet goals, employees may not be effectively working toward critical long-term benchmarks and this makes success harder to track and achieve. Here’s how to improve employee goal setting going into the new year in a way that brings serious benefits to your business.


Employees often use the new year and an opportunity to start fresh and set goals in the form of resolutions such as eating healthier, exercising more, and shedding some weight. As many of us know from experience, these resolutions are rarely kept. There is a difference between jumping and riding on the bandwagon and putting a solid realistic plan in place.

The best way to set attainable goals is by helping your staff state their goals as clearly and specifically as possible. Articulating and setting goals at work doesn’t have to be complicated, simply start by asking employees to write them down. Writing goals down on paper helps employees be more productive toward reaching them, it not only forces them to start breaking goals down into realistic accomplishments, but it also initiates a process of commitment and accountability.


If you don’t have the motivation and drive to do something, you most likely won’t be doing it. Identifying why you want to do something is an essential part of goal setting. Like writing them down, asking the “why” behind goals can help keep them. Pinning a goal related to actions or performance to deeper, more meaningful long-term desires can make it harder to abandon in the face of challenges or distractions.

When it comes to work goals, connecting employees to the bigger picture can boost employee engagement and satisfaction. When an employee understands how achieving a performance goal impacts the bottom-line or the progress of their career, they will be more likely to be invested in achieving it.


It takes more than just writing something down and asking yourself why; tracking goal progress is just as vital to accomplishing goals. Tracking progress means breaking down long-term goals into shorter-term objectives, which will be easier to achieve. Work with your employees to map out their journey to their goals month by month, week by week or even day by day. Knowing what needs to get done when also helps employees prioritize their work.

Collaboratively tracking process gives you a chance to engage your employees through communication and one-on-one meetings. Staying up to date on their progress doesn’t just help keep them accountable, it shows that you’re invested in what’s important to them. It also allows you to help them work through obstacles and resolve questions, ultimately making their success more likely.

As organizational leaders, we can provide the tools and guidance needed to succeed in personal and professional goal accomplishment. An organization does not necessarily hold the responsibility for helping employees achieve their personal or health goals, but when you think about it employees do not just leave their personal lives behind as soon as their work day begins. Having work goals - what they are, why they are set, and whether they are accomplished, can impact employees lives at home.

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