Setting Up 2020 for Success: Creating Goals for Your Employees

Creating Goals for Your Employees

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Setting goals sounds like it should be easy. After all, employees work from job descriptions that often descend into frightening levels of detail. Yet, many employees seem to drift by, day-in and day-out, without ever really making progress. They meet a minimum threshold of productivity but never excel. Sound familiar? Let’s look at some things you can do to create goals for your employees that will achieve results.


1. Collaborate on Goal Setting

If you’ve ever heard an employee say that they have no idea what the company expects from them, it’s the tip of an enormous, dysfunctional iceberg. About 50% of employees operate in this nebulous limbo of not knowing where they should focus their efforts. It’s the role of managers to combat this problem and collaborative goal setting can do a lot. The manager should sit down with employees, discuss their goals, and evaluate their strengths. Then, the manager and employee should set out goals and milestones to meeting them.

Takeaway: You can expect employees to intuit your expectations. You must make them clear.


2. Keep It Reasonable

Too many companies send the message that they expect 110% effort from employees 110% of the time. This goal isn’t reasonable or productive. It’ll just cause burnout and burnt-out employees are less productive. Burned-out employees are also more prone to quit. The goals you set should reflect an employee’s past performance and aim for improvement. If you run a car dealership, you might set a goal of selling 5% more cars at six months out. It’s reasonable and works off past performance, rather than another employee’s performance or an arbitrary number.

Takeaway: Ground the goals in reasonableness and an employee’s specific past performance. Set the bar too high and they’ll just burn out.


3. Acknowledge Achievements

Setting initial goals is important. If you want continued effort on reaching goals, though, you must acknowledge achievements. You don’t need to throw a huge party, but you should at least talk with the employee. Get specific about the goal they achieved and congratulate them on their success. Thank them for their hard work. Even this kind of basic acknowledgment will leave employees feeling recognized and appreciated. This is a key factor in employees viewing the job as meaningful and giving them a purpose. Employees who find that purpose and meaning will strive harder for new goals.

Takeaway: Don’t be stingy with acknowledgments. You only hurt the company.  


Creating goals for your employees isn’t something you can do en masse. Good goals need you to understand your employee’s strengths and weaknesses, which means individual conversations. The goals must be reasonable and based on an employee’s past performance or they lose meaning. You must also acknowledge goal achievements, even if it’s only in a private conversation. That inspires future efforts toward new goals.


Coping with employees who don’t respond even to the techniques above? Timpl can help you find employees who will strive to meet and exceed the goals you set.