How to help your staff with goal setting

As a manager, it is important to help staff with their performance to maximise their output. Not only is it a key responsibility of your role, but helping them set effective goals leads to your plans and strategy becoming a reality, meeting your KPIs, and strengthens the relationship with your team, whilst increasing their engagement and staff retention.

Below are some useful tips on goal setting.

How to help employees with goal setting

1. Set goals which align with company and team’s objectives

Your staff are there to drive your company forward and achieve success, so tie their goals to your team’s mission and your company’s overall strategy. Doing this also allows employees to know how they are directly contributing to organisational success, leading to increased engagement.

2. Ensure goals are easy to understand and actionable - many use the “SMART” framework

SMART goals and objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Collaborating with employees during this process is recommended so they not only understand what is expected of them, but so that they also are more likely to commit to achieving their goals.

3. Increase engagement through incorporating their personal and career goals

Whilst it is important to align goals with team and organisational objectives, many employees are motivated and driven through their own personal progression, so be sure to include this element in the goal setting process. It can also help you push them into taking on more challenging roles and projects in the future.

4. Create an action plan

Help your team understand how they can work towards and achieve their goals, and break down the goals by tasks and key accomplishments. This is where you emphasise their job-specific tasks and goals and how they relate to the bigger picture.

5. Continue to check in and guide employees

Motivating, rewarding, recognising, and training is critical to show your commitment to the goal setting process, and being successful overall.

6. Emphasise that whilst the goals are challenging, they are attainable

Be available to help your employees work towards their goals and overcoming any challenges they may encounter. It will ultimately push them, your team, and your organisation forward.

How to coach and mentor your staff through the goal setting process

You are responsible for helping your staff to continuously improve and reach their goals. In order to coach and mentor your staff throughout the goal setting process, consider:

  • Continuously checking in and making adjustments as needed. By monitoring progress, this allows you and your employees to address problems and implement corrective behaviour, training, or systems as required. By stepping in to provide assistance or guidance when goal setting checkpoints are not being met, this allows you to not steer too far off course and lowers the risk of employees losing motivation.
  • Rewarding employees who achieve their goals. This doesn’t necessarily mean a raise or a promotion; recognition, giving thanks, and other non-monetary bonuses such as a lunch or afternoon off can go a long way for employees. It honours the employee’s effort and achievements and shows other employees that you and the company are committed to success and can incentivise them to continue working hard too.
  • Building relationships with employees so they feel comfortable coming to you with problems and working with you to achieve their goals.

The importance of following up

Even the best laid plans and seemingly realistic, or “easy”, plans can fall apart if not carefully managed, which means goals will not be met. This is why it is important for you to follow up with employees and their goal setting endeavours.

We recommend setting and tracking goals and progress with an online system or program to assist you with this, as it can help automate and remind you of check in times and milestones. This does not need to be a complex or expensive endeavour and there are many free and other cost-effective tools for you and your team to use, along with more robust options if they suit your company’s requirements and budget.

It is important to always follow up, regardless of whether or not goals are being met. If you don’t make it a priority or show an employee that you are committed, they won’t take the goal setting process or requirements seriously. Following up means rewarding, reviewing past achievements, establishing action plans and corrective behaviour for the future, along with setting new goals.