A formal goal-setting program is an asset in any corporate environment, with benefits for both individuals and companies overall.
S.M.A.R.T. goals – statements that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely – have become the standard for organizational goal setting. Use of this method provides guidance for employees when proposing goals and allows managers to more accurately judge the feasibility and later the progress of those goals.
Once a goal-setting program is established, it’s critical to engage staff in the process. Here are a few tips to encourage thoughtful participation when creating and executing S.M.A.R.T goals:
- Write It Out
Ask employees to write out their ideas before completing a formal document. Individuals are far more likely to remember the key details of a goal when asked to create it and write it down on paper.
- Make It Fun
Allowing staff to explore a genuine interest or improve current skills of their choice leads to more engaged participants. If an individual has a key role in shaping their commitment, they will be more likely to accomplish it.
- Keep It Accountable
Motivate staff with clear rewards for success and repercussions for little or no progress. Consider adding quarterly check-ins between the employee and direct supervisor. This will give employees built-in deadlines for progress and gives managers the chance to provide feedback throughout the year.
Encourage leadership support by communicating information about the S.M.A.R.T. goals systems in annual trainings. This is a chance to share the values of the program – accountability, personal development, self-motivation – as well as preliminary steps for implementation.
Trying something new is an opportunity to learn. The obvious learning opportunity is directly related to the goal. For example, an employee may set a goal to learn the latest version of a software program. In achieving proficiency in that program, they have learned a new skill. Even trying and failing comes with learning opportunities.
In addition to goal-related knowledge, participants are developing skills in goal setting and accountability that can benefit any position and any company. Everyone wants an employee comfortable setting goals and independently planning to achieve them.
As the goal-setting program becomes more established, employees and direct managers will learn how to effectively assess the feasibility of goals. Learning by doing, staff will gain a better understanding of what can be accomplished on an individual basis in the time allowed.
It is also important for managers to discuss goals with their employees and create attainable goals by planning for other priorities throughout the year. Practicing communication in your organization through goal setting will positively impact how employees on all levels share expectations for project work and related deadlines.
Goal setting raises the bar for performance in organizations and provides employees a natural opportunity to demonstrate leadership and self-motivation. By using a goal-setting program to create clear avenues toward accomplishment, companies will develop happier employees that grow into skilled leaders. As employees are promoted to leadership roles, their earlier interests may now benefit or be formally incorporated into organizational business plans.
People are the catalyst for growth. By supporting personal goals, employees are empowered to develop the core of a business. Contributing individual drive to overall business goals can open the door to improvements from expanded service offerings to fostering a culture of wellness.
Goal setting is a life-long skill. Continuing to encourage learning and self-motivation is a benefit to employees and, from a corporate perspective, will grow and enhance an organization.