Employees want opportunities to grow, if not just for personal fulfillment but to hone the skills needed to forge a career path. Workplace goals fulfill this need for growth, and improve employee engagement at the same time. Instead of bored, aimless employees, goals create purpose-driven workers who are not only happier at their job, but more productive. One poll revealed that employees who are held accountable for their job performance were 2.5 times more likely to report feeling engaged at work. And goal setting has been shown to improve employee performance by as much as 15%, even when no financial incentives were offered. So, whether you’re just getting started setting goals for your employees, or you’re looking for new ways to motivate them, these tips are for you.
The Importance of Workplace Goals
With only 36% of employees reporting feeling engaged at work, we need to find better ways to motivate them. Employers think their employees leave for more money, but employees tell a different story: most are looking to be recognized and inspired at work.
Effective goal setting and management shows your workers how their performance impacts the success of your business, making for a more meaningful connection to their job. When done right—communicating goals clearly and offering positive reinforcement—workplace goals improve morale and foster better co-worker relationships (since they need to work together to succeed). And since 69% of employees state that they’d work harder if they were more appreciated, goal setting give you an opportunity to recognize and retain top talent.
Setting SMART Goals
The SMART method of goal setting uses an acronym that means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-sensitive. Here’s a breakdown of each step, and examples to get you thinking about how to apply it to your team:
A goal should be specific and clearly defined. For example, instead of “improve customer satisfaction” the goal might be set at “increase customer survey 4-star and higher reviews by 10%.” And just remember to break down larger goals into more manageable chunks, so that employees can see the fruits of their labor more immediately, making motivation a slow burn, not a flame that quickly flickers out.
For performance goals to be meaningful for your workers and your business metrics, workplace goals should be measurable. Switch out vague language, like “increase video production this quarter” with “Create 25 how-to videos by the end of Q2.” Measurable goals are trackable goals, and workers want to know how close they are to their goals. Give them visual motivators to remind them of their progress and how far they have left to go. Raydiant’s Hoopla app can help you create automatically generated sales leaderboards on your in-office screens to encourage your employees with real-time progress reports.
While goals can (and should) be challenging, they should also be reasonable. An unachievable goal will deflate your employees instead of motivating them, whereas a challenging goal shows your faith in their abilities. How, exactly, do you know if a goal is achievable? While that may be subjective, a good rule of thumb is to look at each employee’s past performance and aim just above their best work. Say that one of your sales reps closed 15 deals in their top-performing month. You might consider setting the bar to 18 or 20 as their goal.
A goal may be specific, measurable, and achievable—but is it relevant to your overall business goals? In other words, will it help you grow your business, increase sales, improve customer service, or reach your business goals in another important way? For this reason, it’s vital to get a clear picture of your business goals before you set any employee goals or KPIs. That way you’re not spinning your wheels on metrics that don’t move your bottom line or your business forward.
Don’t get lost in the weeds with your goals. For goals to be effective, they need to have a start and end time. Give goals a deadline so that you can track their progress and reward top performers promptly (otherwise they may get tired of trying).
Communicating Workplace Goals Clearly
More than half of US employees report not being given clear direction at work. What’s worse is that an even larger number of managers—69%—say they feel uncomfortable communicating with employees at all. No wonder there are so many disengaged, disillusioned workers out there! When you set performance goals, clearly communicating them to your employees is key. And this isn’t just a one-time thing—your employees need consistent check-ins and feedback, so they know they’re on the right track. How do you do this?
Weekly meetings and huddle sessions
These need not be long, drawn-out meetings, but just enough time to check in with each other and make sure your team has everything they need to move forward. It’s also a great time for them to ask questions, clarify things they don’t understand, and get mini progress reports on how they’re doing.
Office leaderboards with real-time data
In-office leaderboards are perfect visual aids to show workers how they’re doing. You can use them in meetings, and keep them in office common areas so workers can check their progress.
Setting Workplace Goals = Happier Employees
Who doesn’t want to be recognized for their hard work and unique skill set? Praise makes people feel good—and when you set goals for your employees, you’re giving them more opportunities for a pat on the back. Goals invite employees to contribute to the big picture, making them feel like part of something bigger than 9-5. And they give employees a sense of ownership over their own personal success and that of the company.
How Your Employees Affect Customer Experience
When you invest in your employees’ happiness, you’re investing in your customer experience as well. Content workers have a positive attitude, are more productive at work, and offer better customer service as a result. In this exclusive series of blog posts, we’ll give you tips on creating a better customer experience by improving your employee experience.
This blog post is the second of five in this series. For an overview of all five tips, or a deep dive into the employee/customer experience connection, download our white paper today.