The Employee Performance Goals Examples You Need for Employee Development

15 December 2022 | 4 Minute
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The Employee Performance Goals Examples You Need for Employee Development

Goal setting provides a multitude of benefits to both organisations and employees. They can build engagement, success and productivity through accountability, motivation, accomplishment, purpose and ownership. Done effectively, the right goals may also decrease turnover and allow your people to work at their potential.

But how do you ensure that goals are effectively set and managed? We’ve put together an outline of the employee goal-setting examples that we believe will lead to ongoing success.

Make them SMART

SMART Goals aren’t just management speak for a new fad in employee development. It is a framework that ensures goals are:

Specific – the more detail, the better! If you want someone to achieve something, then be as clear as possible, so they know what they are working to achieve.

Measurable – if you can’t measure a goal, how can you tell if progress is being made? For instance, if you told someone they needed to improve their communication, how would you measure this? Firstly, it’s not specific enough, and secondly, there are so many ways to measure communication, so what are you and your direct report agreeing on? It’s helpful to use tools to track progress and help to motivate the person to achieve the goal.

Achievable – if you told your employee that you need them to be a CEO in a month, it’s unlikely they will achieve it. While goals should stretch someone and be aspirational, if they’re bordering on impossible or too farfetched, then individuals may feel demotivated and stop trying or feel hugely disappointed when they don’t achieve it.

Relevant – you could create the best goals, but if they’re irrelevant to the business and the individual’s role, then they’re null and void. You can try to align them with individual aspirations, but they must be relevant to the organisation and team.

Timely – progress and goal attainment takes time, so each goal must have a timeline to ensure progress and accomplishment. Again, such timelines must be realistic and achievable, so not too short but also not so long that the individual loses motivation and sight of the end goal.


Performance Goals

These relate specifically to the goals required to successfully achieve a specific role. Such goals tend to be short-term and linked to team and business goals. If individuals fail to achieve them, then performance management interventions may be required for progress.


Employee Performance Goals Examples

If someone works in sales, you may set them a performance goal for business development. This goal might be to gain three new clients by the end of the quarter. Obviously, the number of new clients will depend on what others have achieved in the past and the individual’s experience, and as the manager, you are responsible for making such performance goals SMART.

That is, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to the team and timely, as new business is always relevant in sales!


Process Goals

Many aspects of individual and team roles include processes that are difficult to avoid. But old and new processes can slow productivity and cause bottlenecks in getting work done. Therefore, process goals are brilliant to ensure processes are understood and carried out to enhance output and streamline performance.

Processes may be linked to software, they may form part of a project or be a daily part of someone’s role. They are important and are often essential to get right, but employees may avoid them or put them on hold while carrying out other tasks.


Employee Performance Goals Examples for Process or Workflow

Imagine that the HR team has introduced a flexible benefits system which includes new processes for managing and recording employee benefits. Once they have the training on the new system or processes, they are expected to use it as part of their day-to-day role and encourage others in the business to use it too.

Specific process goals will encourage them to learn the processes and understand them and measure their progress. The goals could be something like:

“I will learn how employees can log into the new system and how they can view existing benefits and add new ones. I will be able to advise them on process issues and walk them through the process from log on to selection.” (You would then need a date by which to achieve and review this goal).


Soft Skills Goals

Soft skills will help you and the workforce to get their job done well. They are interpersonal skills that are not technical but are behaviours that individuals demonstrate. These may include communication, time management, problem-solving and conflict management. The challenge of soft skills is that they can be difficult to learn, as essentially, it means changing your personal attributes to work better with others.

But they are essential, and improvement can be made, especially in setting goals to encourage behaviour change.

According to a survey by Indeed, the main soft skills managers believed their top performers possess are:

  • Problem-solving
  • Communication skills, 
  • Self direction
  • drive and 
  • Adaptability/flexibility.

Therefore, if your people lack such important skills, how can you expect your team or business to thrive or your people to be fully motivated? That’s where soft skills goals come in. 


Employee Performance Goals Examples for Soft Skills

Like other examples, you need to make these goals SMART as well, and you must include a time frame for improvement and review.

Examples might be:

Improving Leadership skills: “At least once a week for the next month, I will organise and carry out a one-to-one meeting with each of my direct reports to review their progress and catch up on their workload and projects.”

The way to measure this is to: review if the meetings are organised and go ahead as planned

Then, gain feedback from some of the direct reports to see how they thought the meetings went and the benefits of them.

Discuss with the person how they think it has gone and how they think the changes have impacted them and their skills.


Self-Management Goals

Self-management goals are the goals you set and manage yourself. They don’t require your manager's input or progress measurement, as the goals are down to you. Such goals are an excellent way to give you control or empowerment over your development and will ideally provide motivation and accountability.

But you need to choose these goals carefully; don’t give them a light touch and make them easy to achieve. Equally, you must ensure they’re achievable. They might be around your time management or productivity and can help you to be successful and productive.

As you are accountable for your self-management goals, it saves you the time of having to discuss them with your manager or for you as a manager from discussing them with each direct report.


Employee Performance Goals Examples For Self-Management 

If you want to improve your time management, this may not be because you are late to work. It might be around managing your work in the time you have. Therefore, the goals could be:

  • Keeping a daily check of the weekly schedule of tasks and deadlines. You can use many online tools or trackers to do this.
  • Ensuring that you arrive for every meeting early and prepared. Plan for the meeting, have your questions or concerns ready and make sure you know where and when it is!
  • Analysing projects thoroughly when you run a project or join a project team. Make sure you know your project responsibilities and goals and when you need to deliver them. Assess the potential challenges and who you will be working with.


Using Feedback to Measure Goal Success

And finally, you may be aware of the different types of goals that may be set and created within your organisation, but this awareness needs to be put into action. Then you need to measure how well goal setting is actually happening in your organisation and what your employees think about it.

You could get feedback on this in several ways. You might ask individuals for feedback in team meetings or one-to-ones. Or, if you have the time and resources, you could set up goal-setting focus groups for feedback. You could also ensure that you include a section or a question in your employee satisfaction survey or pulse survey to understand the goal-setting experience for your people and their honest feedback so you can strive to make improvements if necessary.

You and your people need to utilise a selection of goals to ensure optimal performance and development. In some areas, soft skills development will be key; for others, a process goal may be essential. There are many ways to assess what your people think about goal setting in your organisation, and lots of apps to track goals and review progress.

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