When done correctly, goal setting can put your employees on track to achieve their greatest potential as individuals and align themselves better with company goals 😌. But, if you set unrealistic, vague, or irrelevant performance goals for your employees, it can actually end up doing way more harm than good 😔.
So, how can you set better performance goals in order to keep your teams highly motivated, engaged, and productive?
What are Performance Goals?
Employee performance goals are, well, pretty much exactly what they sound like! They address specific aspects of an employee's job performance, enabling them to plan and organize their work so they can achieve the desired goals or outcomes.
The Importance of Goal Setting for Your Employees
It can be difficult for your employees to know if their job performance is measuring up to your expectations as their manager. At the same time, it can be difficult for you to know how to best motivate your employees so they can continue working towards the goals of the entire organization, as well as grow personally and professionally.
Setting job performance goals for your employees is one way to take the mystery out of how they can improve their performance in the workplace 👏. By setting effective performance goals, your employees will be better equipped to:
- Develop new job skills that help them level up in their career
- Take on additional responsibilities
- Think longer-term and more strategically
- Pursue their career aspirations
- Support the organization's vision, mission, and values
- Collaborate with their coworkers
- Communicate with leadership
- Plan and implement successful projects and initiatives
- Remain resilient and optimistic when roadblocks arise, learn from setbacks, and make changes or improvements to get back on track and meet their goals
The Importance of Goal Setting for Managers
Goal setting can also make things much easier on you as a manager. When you set clear employee goals and track their progress, it means you can conduct more effective and accurate employee performance reviews 🙌.
It also makes day-to-day employee management a much less stressful process. When you know exactly what your employees are working towards and where they currently stand, you can then step in to help them along their path towards achieving them. How? By giving regular feedback, being a support system, and helping them find ways to improve and develop new skills!
How to Create Performance Goals
There are many different approaches you can take when it comes to writing performance goals for your employees ✍️. Three of the most common goal frameworks are:
- Outcome and process goals
- SMART goals
- Objective Key Results (OKRs)
What are Outcome & Process Goals?
This goal framework originated from the world of athletics 🏃♂️ but is just as applicable when setting organizational goals or performance goals for employees! Let’s explore each type further:
An outcome goal is the main singular goal that you are working towards. While outcome goals can be very motivating, oftentimes, they are not under your control because they are affected by how others perform, too.
Process goals support performance goals by giving you something to focus on as you work towards your performance goals. They are the small things that are totally under your control that you should focus on or do to eventually achieve your performance goals.
What are SMART Goals?
SMART goals are another goal framework that can be used to set employee performance goals. SMART goals are goals that are:
A performance goal should be explained with enough detail that it can be clearly understood, and includes the who, what, when, where, and how. This is essential because it will be incredibly difficult for your employees to achieve a goal that is incredibly generic or too vague.
A performance goal also needs to be measurable in some numeric or descriptive way. After all, how will your employee know when they’ve completed the goal, or how much more progress needs to be made before they do, if there is no way to measure success?
It’s important that your employee goals are realistic. Each employee needs to have the resources and control necessary to actually complete the goals you’ve set for them. If they don’t, you’re just setting your team up for failure.
Any good performance goal should be aligned with the mission of the team, department, or overall organization. Otherwise, there is no point in pursuing it!
It’s important that the performance goals you’re setting for your employees have a target completion date that is actually realistic. For example, setting a 10 year goal is not very motivating and expecting an employee to reach a huge goal overnight will only make them feel enormous amounts of pressure that can actually have a negative affect their performance.
What are Objective Key Results?
Objective Key Results, or OKRs, are yet another popular goal framework. OKRs are designed to connect company, team, and personal employee performance goals to measurable results.
A large component of this goal framework is making sure everyone is clear about what is expected of them. For this reason, OKRs are supposed to be public. This way, all team members and leaders are aware of what others are working on, and can work together in one unified direction 👉 towards the same high-level organizational goals.
Structure of OKRs
The structure of OKRs are broken into two main components:
- Objectives 📋 OKRs consist of a list of 3-5 high level objectives on company, team, or personal levels.
- Results 📈 Under each objective, you should define 3-5 measurable results. Each Key Result can be measured on a score of 0-100% or 0 to 1.
OKRs are typically part of the quarterly planning process, but some companies will also set annual or monthly OKRs. A major advantage of OKRs is that they are simple to use and do not take much time to implement. Oftentimes, it takes just a few hours each quarter to review OKRs for each employee in their performance review—although it’s a good idea to check in on them a little more regularly so you can keep up with each employee’s progress.
Once defined, it’s important to communicate the OKRs you’ve set for each employee to the rest of the team, as well as leadership within the organization. Then, as your employees start working towards their objectives, they will update their result indicators regularly, preferably weekly. Remember to be flexible! 🧘 If the goals of your company, team, or employees change, then OKRs can be changed as well!
Examples of Performance Goals
Here are some examples of performance goals that may get your creative juices flowing as you’re working on goal setting for your own team.
3 Examples of Performance Goals for Employees
- Deliver five completed project designs to each client in March.
- Get together for a coffee date with a coworker from a different department each month to better understand how they contribute to the overall goals of the organization and brainstorm ideas to improve cross-departmental efficiency.
- Reduce negative customer satisfaction rate by 50%.
3 Examples of Performance Goals for Managers
- Dedicate time to once a month to recognize the work of a top performer on your team by taking them to get a coffee or sending them an encouraging email.
- Create a document that outlines all the communication tools used across your team and distribute it to each member by the end of the month to ensure a strong understanding of them before the next quarter rolls around.
- Keep attrition on your team under 10% year-over-year.
Set—and Track—Better Performance Goals with Strety! 😍
Setting better goals is just the first step. To hit your goals, you need the right systems in place to keep track of progress, celebrate high performers, and give helpful feedback.
It's tough to see real progress if you're tracking goals in a spreadsheet. That's not designed for meaningful collaboration, which you need to keep people motivated.
Strety's designed to help you ditch the chaos and uncertainty of managing people and setting employee goals. Strety has all the features you need to become a better manager together in one convenient place: Microsoft Teams.
If you're already spending your workday inside Teams, shouldn't your goals live there, too?
With Strety, you can set and track individual employee performance goals as well as overall business goals: right within Teams. You'll always know where each employee and your business as a whole stands. Whether you use Traction/EOS, OKRs, or just simple SMART goals, we can help you monitor them with ease, all on a system built to be intuitive and easy to use.
Ready to gain access to the tools you need to set and track employee performance goals in a faster, simpler way? Contact us today! 📞