Making and achieving goals is instrumental in keeping employees productive and engaged, but managers need to play their role in the process for it to be successful. Employee productivity increases by 56% when managers are involved and help align goals to what the organization needs, but unfortunately, only 44% of those employees felt their goals really connected. As a manager, you can take steps to make sure your employees tackle their goals head-on.
Begin with SMART Goals
Goals are easier to achieve if they're carefully thought-out and designed before trying to achieve them. SMART goals are a best-practice approach to setting goals that benefit both the employee and the company. SMART is an acronym that stands for:
- Specific. Goals should include dates, resources, dollar amounts, etc., i.e., anything needed to accomplish them.
- Measurable. The success and/or progress of the goal should be able to be trackable and measurable.
- Achievable. Goals need to be challenging but also realistic.
- Results-based. Goals need to align with your company's strategy by adding value and supporting the company's vision
- Time-bound. Goals should have a "need to be completed by" date.
Here's an example of a SMART performance goal for HR: to recruit 15% more employees in one year while retaining more than 90% of current employees. The goal is specific (to grow the company's workforce by 5%), measurable (5% more employees), achievable (a 5% growth is challenging in today's market but should be attainable), results-based (a growing workforce reflects the company's prosperity, culture and employee engagement) and time-bound (one year).
Tie Goals into Company Goals
Let your employees know how their goals affect the big picture. When goals are easily linked to those of the organization, employees are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged. Everyone likes to feel what the're doing really makes a difference. To make sure this happens, the company's goals need to be transparent so your employees can align their objectives with them. And don't focus on just playing it safe, ambitious goals can way outperform those less challenging ones, positively impacting the company.
Meet Regularly to Stay on Track
Goals can't be a 'set-it and forget-it' type of deal. Just as a performance review can feel like a waste of time if they're merely an annual event, to be effective, goals should be nurtured throughout the year with one-on-one conversations between manager and employee. Meet often and make sure you're
- clear about accountability
- communicating effectively
- allowing employees to manage their own performance
- helping them to develop their skills
Using a good performance management system can help managers stay on top of goal setting by sending reminders, getting feedback and allowing employees to track their own progress.
Offer Rewards for Achieving Goals
You can help encourage your employees to meet their goals by compensating them once they're achieved. Trying an incentive program to goal achievement allows employees to control the outcome, making them more effective. And, of course, employees are more productive if they're rewarded for their achievements. Incentives can include a bonus, raise, set sum, profit sharing but also gifts, time-off, company parties, etc.
BirdDogHR offers performance management software that provides tools for HR and managers to get employee feedback, track performance and guide career development. Plus it easily integrates with our Succession Planning and BirdDogHR Learning Management System.