5 Steps to Simplify the Employee Goal Setting Process


What’s the one thing that comes to your mind every time you hear the word “goal”? The word may draw a picture of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo defeating the opponent’s defense and scoring a goal. 

However, goal holds a much broader meaning when it’s part of the management literature.

In layman’s terms, goals setting is the process of defining achievable objectives with specific guidelines.

Today, employee goal setting is a highly integral part of a business development process. From deepening employee engagement to increasing employee performance, goal-setting drives your employees to remain engaged to reach their goals.

In this article, we explore five steps to simplify the employee goal-setting process.

Use these steps to create SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based).

Use a goal-setting framework like OKR

Objective and key results (OKR) is a goal-setting framework that helps define goals and track the outcomes. Having the OKR framework in your arsenal can help you achieve goals in days instead of months.

When companies use an OKR framework template to create goals, it helps build alignment, establish accountability between teams, and create transparency across all organizational levels.

An OKR contains three to five high-level objectives with another four to five measurable results for each objective. For smaller teams, focus on three or less than three measurable results.

In your workplace, it’s a helpful way to guide projects. When a project requirement changes and doesn’t fall under the OKR, the company can decide whether to add it, prioritize something down, or say no to the changing requirement.

As OKR remains aligned with your business strategy, using OKR in the goal-setting process can simplify things and help you reach organizational goals.

Provide employee benefits

What’s the point in setting workplace goals when your employees are not engaged enough to stay motivated?

As employees are the crucial system that underpins your organization’s ability to grow and thrive, engaging and motivating them is part and parcel of setting goals. 

Some companies motivate employees by giving additional training, while others provide flexible employee benefits. Offering such benefits shows the employees that you’re invested in their health and future.

Additionally, employees feel motivated to excel in their job roles when you offer flexible employee benefits. They feel listened to and valued.

Offering benefits that they want allows you to showcase that you appreciate and value their work. This can lead to motivation and they focus on accomplishing their goals.

Maintain a balance between employee goals and business goals

Every employee goal that you set in some way should fulfill the business or team goals. So, when setting employee goals, focus on aligning them with the business goals.

Also, give employees a chance to set goals for themselves. When your employees set goals, they leave no stone unturned in accomplishing them. 

This is important because managers have specific criteria in mind, but they’re likely to get insightful answers from employees to help them set goals related to a project. 

Interestingly, employees who share goals with their managers and peers have a 75% chance of succeeding than those who work solo.

However, understand that there is a thin difference between imposing goals and encouraging them to suggest goals. 

When the employee suggests goals align with a company’s objective, you can work alongside employees to develop plans and achieve those goals.

Set similar goals for employees with the same responsibilities

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to foster a culture of growth and a healthy work environment. Your goal-setting process can backfire when a company frames it as a competition or contest. 

Setting different goals for employees at the same level can undermine a positive culture. Setting the same or similar goals avoids internal politics and rivalries. Workplace rivalries can result in resentment, frustration, and diminished morale.

When two managers have the same workplace and performance goals, it creates healthy competition, and each one works hard to achieve them. Companies that set similar goals are more adept at creating a positive work culture that helps them reach their goals.

Recognize employees who achieve performance goals

When a company recognizes employees, it shows employees how they helped reach strategic business goals. 

So, to keep your workforce motivated and engaged, companies should frequently and timely recognize employees who achieve their goals. This may further incentivize the rest of the workforce to work hard and achieve organizational goals. 

Also, according to research, highly-engaged employees are more productive and committed to the organization in which they work.

So, appreciating employees is a powerful way of reaching performance goals, building a culture of recognition and amplifying the overall employee performance. 

A corporate reward and recognition program works wonders to provide timely and value-based appreciation.

Alternatively, when employees feel that such hard work goes unnoticed, they can feel that there’s no point in working hard, resulting in lower productivity. This can also trigger employees to start looking for work elsewhere.

Key takeaway

Helping your employees set the right goals is critical for workplace success. There are many benefits of prioritizing employee goal-setting within your organization. As an employer, it’s essential to set SMART goals to help you grow personally and professionally.

Organizations that make goal setting a prioritization send an indication to the employees that a company cares about their growth and is committed to helping them advance in their careers.

Now that you know the value of goal setting, follow these five simple steps to get started and see your employees flourish to the next level.

How do you set employee goals in your organization?

Do share your thoughts with us.

Author’s bio

Priya Jain is a professional copywriter with 8 years of experience. She has an MBA and engineering degree. When she is not writing, you will find her teaching math, spending her day running behind her toddler, and trying new recipes. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.