Employee Goal Setting

How many times have you heard it? “To be successful you must set goals.” Well it’s true. At some point we have all set goals and worked to meet them. Often times however, we set goals only to lose interest in them shortly down the road. One of the most consistent findings among researchers on being an effective supervisor has much to do with employee goal setting. If you, as a supervisor devote attention to employee goal setting you may find that there is higher productivity among your team members and increased job satisfaction.

Setting goals is simple and effective in the workplace. Here are some common guidelines to follow for employee goal setting.

  • Goal setting should be specific. Goals that are broad or too general may result in wasted time, spinning wheels, trying to figure out the required steps to complete it. Having a specific goal leads to greater commitment and follow through.
  • Break goals into measurable components. You can measure progress by looking at various aspects such as; cost, quality, quantity, or timeliness. Providing feedback is important to keeping individuals motivated and knowing how they are progressing towards the goal.
  • Sometimes goals require fine-tuning. Get feedback from team members to see what their thoughts are. If goals are set jointly you will tend to have a greater buy in and your employees will be more committed.
  • Be Realistic! If the goal is not realistic then it will most likely fail and your employees will begin to wander away from meeting this goal.
  • Set a deadline. Setting a deadline helps add a sense of urgency to the situation and improves the follow through on accomplishing the goal. Upon saying this let me add that you should also allow a window of completion. For example, say you set the deadline of 3 days from today’s date. When that day comes you may want to allow yourself room for early completion or even a few additional hours to tie up some loose ends. Evaluate on day 3 and see where you are at. You may still get it done that day but it may not be until after lunch.
  • Finally, set goals and methods of achieving those goals that is repeatable. You don’t want to have to re-create the wheel each time you set goals for your employees.

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