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3 Golden Rules for Effective Goal Setting


Studies have shown the positive effects of goal setting on employee performance and engagement. And yet, according to a recent survey, about half of employees don’t know what is expected of them at work. It’s hard for employees to meet performance goals when they don’t know exactly what’s expected of them.

Here we list three things to keep in mind when establishing effective goals for your employees:

1) Align individual goals to the company’s goals

There is a clear disconnect between company’s objectives and individual goals. One study found that two thirds of senior managers cannot name their firm’s top priorities. A more shocking study by Harvard Business Review found that 95% of employees do not fully understand company’s strategy and what is expected of them.

If the employees don’t understand the company’s strategy, how can you expect them to know what is important to the company?

Clearly identifying and communicating the companies’ priorities by aligning team and individual objectives to company’s objectives will allow individuals to understand the direct impact of their performance.

2) Involve employees from start-to-finish

Decisions are more effective when employees are involved from the very start. Managers should work with employees to develop SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, results oriented and time bound) goals. Doing so will improve clarity as employees will understand the goals and how to achieve these goals. Research by Gallup indicates that employees whose managers involve them in a goal setting are 3.6 times more likely than other employees to be engaged (“write your own lottery” mindset), and yet, less than a third of employees strongly agree that their managers involve them in goal setting.

Bottom line: Involve employees throughout the entire goal setting process to keep employees motivated and engaged. We recommend visiting employee’s objectives during their regular feedback check-ins.

3) Track and adapt goals in real-time

Effective goal setting involves continuous tracking and the adaptation of goals. By actively keeping track of the progress of short term and long term goals, managers can take a proactive stance if any goals come at risk, priorities shift, or changes emerge throughout the quarter. Regularly tracking and adapting goals is the secret to setting and achieving your company’s goals.

Have any more tips for effective goal setting? Let us know!

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