Importance of good goal setting

Importance of good goal setting


  • Date: Tuesday 28th September 2021
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Taking time to sit down with an employee and agree goals for them to achieve is an important factor in motivating and focusing an individual on delivering high levels of performance, as well as helping an organisation to grow and improve.

However, managers need to get goal setting right as high achieving employees can become demoralised if their manager sets vague or irrelevant goals. Instead, managers should work with team members to create clear and achievable goals that are relevant to their role. By taking a collaborative approach It will strengthen engagement and help to retain top talent. Clear targets also provide employees with a point of focus and sets out what is expected of them.

Goal setting tips

All good goal setting starts with the long-established and highly relevant SMART framework.

The SMART acronym is the ultimate goal building block

Specific – Work with employees to create clear cut objectives. If a goal is ambiguous the employee will be confused and may not deliver the required outcome. For example: “complete the project by 30th November within budget and with less than 20 hours on site.”

Measurable – All goals must be results-driven so that you and the employee know whether or not they are achieved. This will help build individual accountability and push your employee to succeed.

Achievable – Goals must be realistic based on the employee’s knowledge, skills and access to resources. If goals are over-ambitious, they can cause frustration and end up discouraging the employee.

Relevant – Goals should link to the organisation’s objectives and strategy. Goals should show the linkage between personal performance and the overall success of the organisation.

Timebound – All goals need a deadline by which they need to be achieved. This creates urgency and keeps tasks on track by pushing the employee to maintain their focus.

Make goal setting collaborative

The employee who is doing the job day in and day out knows the job better than anyone else. Ask employees to identify what they believe their objectives should be. They will appreciate the responsibility and autonym this provides and will highlight areas for improvement you may not have considered. Then work with the employee to apply SMART to the objectives they have identified.

Track progress

Monitor and review goal progress on an ongoing basis. Managers need to be ready to provide support whenever it is required. If goals are not met, be sure to review why and determine what needs to be done to overcome any barriers such as allocating more time, providing additional resources or offering training and coaching. 

Reward success

Finally, it is important to recognise and reward employees that deliver their goals. This could be through recognition events, newsletters, employee of the month schemes, bonus payments or even additional leave. Where an organisation does not provide such recognition there is a risk that such high performers will lose interest in meeting future objectives which will impact on productivity and may result in them looking for work elsewhere.

Source: Gavin Parrott


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