Begin 2021 with Employee Goal Setting


Organizational leaders have quite a bit on their plates 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 paths toward 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 an exciting experience, as these goals help shape the future for both the individual and the organization. Goals give the power for directing daily priorities and setting a sense of purpose.

During 2020, a year of rapid change and constant uncertainty, it is unlikely that employees have paused to consider anything beyond the next day, week, or maybe month, if you're lucky. This year, it is critical to make time for goal setting. Otherwise, you are threatened with employees getting stuck in the weeds, and forgetting about the larger picture.

As we move into the new year, here are a few actionable ways to improve the employee goal setting process.


Be Realistic

First, and perhaps most important in light of 2020, make sure you are realistic with the goals you and your employees set. Take the challenges of 2020 into account and plan for the worst. And if, best case scenario, you exceed the modest goals you set, you can set larger goals in 2021. 

You want to set employees up for attainable success so that they are not constantly discouraged. By no means should you not push employees and set large goals, but make sure to take into account factors that are outside of your team's control.


Prioritize Clarity

It's common to use the new year as an opportunity to start fresh and set goals in the form of resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, or try a new habit or skill. As many of us know from experience, resolutions are rarely kept. There is a difference between riding the New Years 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.

To take it a step further, encourage employees to set SMART goals - that is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. This way, goals are articulated clearly enough that employees can work towards them. 


Create Motivation with the Why

If you don’t have the motivation and drive to do something, you most likely won’t end up doing it. Identifying why you want to do something is an essential part of goal setting. Connecting a goal to the deeper reason behind it can help employees stay focused 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. If an employee understands how achieving a performance goal impacts the bottom-line or the progress of their career, they will be more invested in achieving it.


Track Progress

It takes more than just writing something down and asking yourself why you want it; tracking goal progress is just as vital to accomplishing goals as establishing them was. Tracking progress means breaking down long-term goals into shorter-term objectives, which will be easier to keep track of and achieve. Work with your employees to map out their track to their goals month by month or week by week. 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.


What are some of the ways you have found success in goal-setting with employees? Let us know in the comments below!

Tags: HR, Business 101

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