RISMEDIA, Jan. 28, 2008-(careerbuilder.com)-Most successful businesses have a culture of setting and achieving goals. The concept of goal setting is applicable to both corporate and personal achievement. Although goal setting and measurement could be difficult, the following techniques will make it easy, interactive, encouraging, and motivational.
Regardless of an employee’s personal desire, goals should always be challenging, obtainable, and measurable. Work with each employee to determine what is reasonably challenging, but obtainable in a set time span.
Setting employee goals can be a challenging process. Some employees want goals that are easy to reach, but over-achievers typically want a challenge. Regardless of an employee’s personal desire, goals should always be challenging, obtainable, and measurable. Work with each employee to determine what is reasonably challenging, but obtainable in a set time span. By doing this, the set goals will be more effective and beneficial to both the company and employee.
As you work with your employees to set goals, use the following 10 items to help create personal goals that will achieve the larger corporate objectives.
Allow Your Employees to Own Their Goals
For your employee to succeed, he or she needs to feel some sense of ownership in the goal. Each goal should generate excitement in the employee. You can save time and increase employee buy-in by having your employees request goals. Make sure that your employees understand the corporate objectives before asking for their requests. Review the requested goals with each employee and tweak as necessary. Some employees will be great at setting their own goals, others will need guidance. Asking for his or her input will help you learn more about what motivates each individual, and will make it easier to capitalize on intrinsic motivation.
Open-ended goals encourage procrastination and complacency. In most organizations, it works well to have quarterly goals. Larger annual targets are also helpful, but those should be supported by short-term smaller goals.
Make Sure the Goals are Measurable
Every goal should produce some sort of quantifiable data. If you are unsure how to make a goal quantifiable, ask your employee to propose a solution. By eliminating subjective measurements, both you and your employee know he or she met the goal, and it is difficult to dispute the measurement once the due date arrives.
Have Your Employees Write Their Goals Down
Regardless of the goal’s origin, it is important to have them personally re-write the goal and measurement. This practice helps your employee visualize exactly what it is they are trying to achieve. It also encourages a personal commitment to focus on accomplishing the goal.
The Goal Post
Seeing the goals daily keeps them fresh in your employee’s mind. Encourage your employee to post his or her goals in sight of where they are easily visible. Allowing employees to see other team members’ goals can also provide a better understanding of the role each plays in the company. Posting employee goals also helps to establish a sense of unity amongst the staff. Knowing he or she is not the only one with a difficult goal can be a powerful motivator.
Schedule Regular Progress Meetings
Once the goals are set, make sure to schedule periodic progress meetings to keep your employees on pace. This is not micro-management, but support to help him or her stay focused. Employees will often spend too much time on one goal while neglecting the others on the list. Progress meetings help to give goals the appropriate emphasis and help to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
Limit the Number of Goals
One of the most important tricks for setting effective goals is quality over quantity. Do not assign a goal just to add more to an employee’s list.
One of the most important tricks for setting effective goals is quality over quantity. Do not assign a goal just to add more to an employee’s list. It is far more effective to make sure that all goals are meaningful. If it is not going to provide measurable value to the company, eliminate it and try again.
Base Goals on Company Values
Defined corporate values should serve as the base for setting effective goals. For example, if diversity in the workplace is a value of your company, then a goal that furthers diversity would be appropriate. Supporting an employee goal derived from your company’s core values makes accomplishing the goal more likely.
Provide Positive Feedback
Separate from scheduled progress meetings, try to find opportunities to give encouragement. Words of affirmation keep employees motivated and working hard. Periodic positive feedback can make the difference between a goal accomplished and a goal exceeded far beyond expectations.
Make the Reward Worth It
What does the employee receive once all of his or her goals are met? Is it an employee bonus, a raise, additional vacation days, a new title? Make sure it is something valued by the employee. Personal satisfaction is good, but sustained hard work and effort should come with rewards for exceptional performance.
Setting effective goals does not have to be challenging. Remember that all goals should support what is best for your company, while at the same time being realistic, obtainable, and measurable. Following these goal setting guidelines will ensure that both you and your employee achieve success.