20+ Ways to Set Employee Goals

Setting employee goals in a workplace is essential for enhancing the productivity and performance of the employees. Company heads like the managers and coordinators may be required to set these goals for the employees. Employee goals are primarily associated with grounds of productivity, accountability, motivation, and job complacency.

What are the principles of setting employee goals?

  • Set goals in alignment with company objectives.
  • Apply OKR, MBO, and SMART goal strategies.
  • Employees should be encouraged to identify job-specific objectives.
  • Set goals that are consistent for employees who have similar tasks.
  • Employees who achieve their objectives should be rewarded.

Goals to Set for Yourself at Work

Choosing the right type of Goal

Firstly the employer should determine what type of goal he wants to set for the employee, whether it is a performance goal or a development goal. Performance goals are those for which employees strive to attain targets.

They are designed to link an employee’s achievement with the general aims of the organization and focus on an employee’s work obligations and productivity.

Whereas development-oriented goals are those which focus on the individual professional development of employees. Such goals encourage an employee’s improvement through skill-based training.

Organizational goals should be clear-cut

Only when the organizational goals are definitely the employee goals could be successfully set. So, before setting employee goals, the focus should be predisposed to setting organizational goals.

Organizations have a clearer route to achieving and realizing their vision when they set clear, achievable goals.

how to choose right type goal

Reviewing organizational targets

Contemplate your organization’s goals to align each employee’s performance goals with the organization’s missions and strategies. When employees understand how they can help the firm expand, performance targets become more effective.

A potent application of this is, to begin with, an overall company goal and then breaking it down into smaller goals for each person.

Keeping tabs on and updating regularly

By monitoring and reviewing achievements regularly, you can motivate your employees to reach their performance goals and assure development. 

Reward employees who meet their objectives and work closely with those who fall short of reaching earmarks. If necessary, revise and update the goals after consulting and discussing with the employee.

Avoid variegated work to make strategic calibration easier

The workplace is dynamic. More employees work from home, and the labor market is expanding while labor is getting more specialized.

 A recent survey by Gartner suggests that 68% of CEOs believe that only employees with a highly specialized blend of talents and experience can accomplish the work required. However, as a result of this, an increasing proportion of employees feel distanced from the organization’s aims they work for.

Setting role-specific goals for the enhancement of skills of the employees

Role-specific goals are usually centered on job accomplishment, progress, and self-efficiency. Such goals are set by employees themselves for their desires to get better in their work or for getting a job promotion.

For instance, before applying for promotion to the next level, an employee takes up some skill training activities to become suitable for the job. Therefore this suggests a role-specific goal.

Setting team-specific goals for employees working in groups

Team-specific goals are usually set for a group of employees working together for an organization on the same project. These goals aim at creating superior job strategies, better coordination, and faster target achievement.

For example, the marketing department intends to launch a new social media campaign in the coming quarter. To guarantee that everyone is ready for the launch, the team establishes a goal of completing a short-form certificate in Instagram marketing.

how to set team specific goals

Encouraging employee participation

Employees should be allowed to define and propose their job-related objectives. They would be more driven to attain goals they set for themselves rather than those imposed on them by management. 

Personalized goals should be discussed for a given performance period with each employee making sure that the goals are in line with the company’s objectives. An action plan should be created for achieving your goals once you have finalized them.

OKR goal-setting technique

OKR is a goal-setting framework that assists businesses in defining goals — or objectives — and then tracking the key results. The framework is intended to assist organizations in establishing long-term goals in days rather than months.

OKR has existed since the 1970s. Andy Grove invented the concept, but John Doerr, one of Google’s early investors, popularised it. Some of the top companies that applied this strategy are LinkedIn, AirBnB, etc.

MBO goal-setting technique

MBO employs a set of quantitative or objective standards to assess a company’s and its workers’ performance. Managers can spot the areas of problem and increase efficiency by comparing genuine potency to a set of criteria.

 Both management and employees are aware of and agree on these standards and objectives. The term was first used by Peter F. Drucker 1954.

how to encourage employee participation

Adjusting goals in sync with time

Priorities fluctuate, team dynamics and functions get displaced- in business, change is both common and unavoidable. Coping with these changes in sync with time is essential for the company to keep going.

Checking in with your staff regularly to ensure that their goals remain relevant, and keeping an eye out for changes in the organization, staff turnover, budget constraints, or technological improvements that may have an impact on goal alignment should be practiced to keep up.

Ensuring individual goals are at par with business objectives

The purpose of employee goals is to move the business ahead. Thus employee goals should be set at par with the broader organizational goals.

Corporate priorities and team objectives should be shared with employees to have a context for creating appropriate goals. Goal alignment is critical because it guarantees that your staffs are working towards goals that matter while increasing engagement.

Setting goals that are relevant and realistic

The set goals must be achievable and fathomable to motivate the employee to achieve them. It must also be consistent with the employee’s obligations.

Employee performance is determined by how goals are created and what drives encourage them to achieve those goals. When an employee’s activities are linked with accomplishing the organization’s ultimate goal, and their performance adds to organizational growth, they will perform expeditiously.

Assurance of reward on goal achievement

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need model, reward and recognition is the second most important need if we look through the pyramid from the top. Reward and recognition have a direct link to motivation.

Thus, assuring employees of reward for achieving their goal would help them stay motivated and work efficiently towards its accomplishment.

why employee assured reward goal achievement

Proper Delegation of tasks is cardinal for setting employee goals

Specified responsibilities should be assigned to competent staffs by matching tasks to their abilities. Employees would perform best in areas where they already excel. 

Therefore, assigning a certain task to someone who is experienced with it allows that individual to do it more quickly and even come about with better ideas and techniques to complete the assignment efficiently. The job should be suitable for the employee for maximized efficiency.

Calling for accountability

Calling for accountability plays a vital role in setting employee goals. If employees remain accountable for their actions to the authority, goal attainment becomes easier. As a result of this, employees take every action judiciously, being cautious about mistakes.

Making your staffs aware that they are accountable for all of their decisions and activities will encourage them to work more precisely and deliberately, avoiding rash decisions.

Setting clear objectives for employees who have comparable duties

The employer’s responsibility is to provide healthy working conditions that promote employee-growth opportunities. When setting goals in the workplace is portrayed as a contest or competition among employees, it can backfire. It can also swiftly destabilize a positive workplace culture.

Thus, to prevent this from happening, avoid inciting internal rivalries, which may cause low morale, dissatisfaction, and resentment.

Working closely with employees who fail to meet company expectations

Regardless of all efforts, not every employee will be able to achieve their objectives. When the decided deadline arrives and the employee has not fulfilled their goals, an in-depth discussion about what went wrong should occur, along with encouragement to try again and address or rewrite the stated objectives. 

Setting goals with your staff helps to establish a culture of continuous feedback and open communication.

Specifying time limits to achieve specific goals

Specifying an achievable time limit for short-term goals is critical so that employees can define the maximum amount of time it will take to complete certain goals. 

Employees can define goals with distinct beginning and finishing points with the help of a dependable goal-setting tool.

SMART goal setting technique

SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals. The most important component of SMART goal setting is making the goal specific so that the progress can be tracked and assessed.

As a result, the more specific the company’s goals, the more likely it is to get aligned with the employee’s goals.

what is smart goal setting strategy


In summary, when we set goals for employees, we need to do it carefully. We should talk openly, make sure the goals match the company’s plans, and be able to measure progress. When we do this right, it helps employees stay motivated, work better, and feel happier in their jobs, which is good for both them and the company.

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Frequently asked questions on ways to set employee goals

How do you know if the goal is unrealistic?

Big goals are excellent, but they can be a little too difficult for any employee to accomplish. If you believe your New Year’s resolution is too ambitious, avoid a harsh penalty for failure and instead reward for the achievement of milestones.

Who should set the employee goals?

Even though the final goal must be passed by the authorities of a company, it must always be discussed with the employees before that. Employee involvement is a crucial aspect of a company’s success.

How can employee goals be reached successfully?

Employee goals could be reached successfully only if they are employee-friendly and set following the OKR, MBO, and SMART goal strategies.

How should the process of setting employee goals work?

The employer should compose the first draft and explain the rationale to his employees. Then the team asks questions and makes changes, and both parties agree on the final goal.

How many goals should be set for each employee or department?

Setting no more than three to five major goals for an individual or department is recommended. Going slightly above this (say eight or ten) may not cause a disaster but exceeding that may hamper the focus of the employees.

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