Whether you’re a manager looking to maximize productivity from your staff or are just looking to boost your own performance, setting goals can help you work more efficiently, reduce stress, achieve more success and get noticed by the people upstairs. The trick to effective employee goal setting is to combine short-term performance goals with long-term outcome goals.
The phrase “outcome goals” refers to long-term career or workplace goals. Examples of outcome goals include getting a promotion, finding a new job, moving into a new profession, becoming certified or getting a raise. These are “what” goals that require you to create “how” plans, also known as performance goals. Outcome goals without specific performance goals often fall by the wayside because you have no specific map for reaching them.
Once you have one or more outcome goals, you must set performance goals to reach them. For example, if you want to move from a marketing coordinator role to a marketing manager position, you must take several specific actions to get there. You would start by learning the job description of a marketing manager, then building those skills. This might require performance goals such as taking one or more college marketing classes, joining a professional association, asking to attend regular marketing meetings, learning how to use social media tools, developing better interpersonal skills or learning how your sales department operates.
Goals for Subordinates
If you are a manager, don’t unilaterally set goals you want your subordinates to reach if you want maximize success. Telling your team that you want X number of products produced or $X of sales in a quarter is an example of top-down goal setting that’s forced on workers. If you have an outcome goal such as X number of products made or $X of sales in a quarter, meet with your team and ask them to help set performance goals to reach the outcome goal. Meet with your staff members individually and ask what their long-term personal goals are. Help them set goals you both want to achieve. This could include sending them to workshops or seminars or reimbursing tuition so they can learn new skills. You might set a goal of improving your employees’ communications and time management skills.
To reach your long-term personal career goals, divide your performance goals into those that improve job-specific skills and those that apply to general career skills. For example, a human resources professional might set job-specific skill goals such as learning more about payroll, benefits, wellness, OSHA rules and labor laws. These are goals that directly help a company. To rise into management ranks, the HR professional might improve her writing skills, time-management practices, people skills, leadership abilities and professional network. A good place to start with personal goal setting is to review your job description and work to excel in every area the company believes is necessary for your position.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.