Set goals with your employees to keep them on track and provide yourself an objective way to measure their performance. When your employees have performance goals they can work towards, it makes them more engaged and motivated to succeed. For the best results, you need to strike a balance between allowing your employees freedom regarding their goals while ensuring that their goals fit your company’s needs. Here are the most effective ways to set goals with your employees and still give them a degree of autonomy.
Tie Performance Goals Into the Big Picture
Your employees are more likely to succeed when they understand how their goals relate to the success of the business. No matter what an employee’s role is, explain how he’s helping the company. Employees rarely give it their all when they feel like their contributions aren’t meaningful.
This should be simple enough for you to articulate. After all, if an employee isn’t benefiting your company, you probably wouldn’t have them on your payroll in the first place. It’s just a matter of demonstrating how their position is a key cog in your company’s strategy.
Set Challenging Goals
Two of the requirements in setting a SMART goal are that the goal is attainable and realistic. While those are both necessary for a good goal, it’s equally as important that the goal is challenging. If it’s too easy, your employee may feel like you don’t have faith in his abilities.
Another problem with easy goals is that they don’t require maximum effort. If you’re running a 5K, it doesn’t make much sense to aim for a time you can do without breaking a sweat. You’d be free to coast. Harder goals force people to push themselves, and that’s when they do their best work.
Make a Plan
The most effective way to reach a goal is to break it down into smaller chunks. This gives the employee targets to aim for during the daily and weekly grind rather than only having one major goal months down the road.
Talk with your employees about what they think are good milestones on the way to their goals. Help employees come up with plans that cover what they need to do to complete each milestone and stay on track.
Check in Regularly
Remember that a performance goal isn’t just your employee’s responsibility. You two are partners, and it’s your job to see how they’re doing and provide assistance when they need it.
It’s good to check in with each employee weekly at a minimum, and it’s even better if you can message them every day. Even a quick text message keeps the lines of communication open and lets them know they can ask you if they need anything. In addition to checking in, you should also have periodic employee performance reviews where you take a closer look at how they’re doing.
Performance goals can be the difference between employees who are motivated to succeed and employees who are going through the motions. Work with your employees, and you can come up with goals that bring out the best in them.