Advice for Setting Employee Performance Goals


Setting employee performance goals can be one of the most challenging tasks for a manager. Setting the right goals empowers employees, makes management easier, and puts a department on track to attain company-wide goals. Unclear goals can frustrate employees, managers, and the organization as a whole. When setting employee performance goals, follow these simple tips to get your organization and employees on track. 

Ensure Goals Are Concrete

Ambiguity is the downfall of most employee performance goals. By leaving too much of a review to vague and "soft" goals, employees are left feeling like their review is more of a popularity contest than an evaluation of their performance. Setting employee performance goals that are concrete and quantifiable allows managers to have statistics rather than feelings about their employee's productivity. Setting up front, concrete goals also gives employees a goal to attain. This can improve overall performance as well as year-to-year performance. Managers need to ensure that their goals are quantifiable and attainable. 


Track Employee Performance Goals

Managers, particularly new managers, don't always understand the performance of their team. Without knowing the day-to-day responsibilities of their employees, managers associate being busy with being high-performing. Without setting employee performance goals that are clear, managers make decisions based on perception rather than fact. Automated workforce management systems make tracking employee performance goals simple and error-free. Business intelligence software can identify trends, generate customized reports, and help maintain an up-to-date log of employee performance goals. By tracking this information on a consistent basis, managers can identify performance issues early, allowing for correction before the annual review. Set concrete goals that are trackable through software to enhance employee performance goals.


Update Goals Frequently

If you're properly managing your team, your goals are constantly evolving. What you want to attain one year might be taken for granted the next. To avoid stagnation, keeping employee performance goals up to date with the current needs of the department is essential. Acknowledge and reward attaining performance goals and then hold employees to an even higher standard. Each year, set new goals and relay those to employees. This ensures that your team will be up-to-date with the organization's needs and feel challenged in their position. 

Think Big Picture

While there are many intra-department goals that contribute to making an organization run smoothly, managers who only focus on their own department set the organization up for failure. When setting employee performance goals, thinking about the organization's mission and goals is essential for the success of the department and the employees. Employees who understand their contribution to the organization are more engaged and managers who encourage "big picture" thinking encourage dynamic solutions for company-wide problems that can be solved in their own department. Setting employee performance goals that focus on the company mission improves engagement and helps finds solutions that benefit the entire organization. 


Look To The Future

While having a consistent workforce may be ideal, each employee has goals and ambitions of their own. Employers who consider their employees goals as well as organization goals can increase morale while improving the organization. When setting employee performance goals, set goals for professional improvement through continuing education or developing projects that they are passionate about. By encouraging personal development, managers can increase employee satisfaction. 

Setting employee performance goals may initially seem ineffective, but by setting goals that improve morale and productivity while tracking top-performers, managers can improve the workplace and their organization. Use this advice for setting effective employee performance goals to start developing strong goals for your next employee review.