Employees should have a clear understanding of what they are attempting to accomplish. In addition, managers have the responsibility for seeing that this is done by helping employees set work goals. Setting goals is a skill every managers need to develop.
You can be more effective at setting goals if you use the following eight suggestions.
- Identify an employee’s key job tasks
Goal setting begins by defining what it is that you want your employees to accomplish. The best source for this information is each employee’s job description.
- Establish specific and challenging goals for each key task
Identify the level of performance expected of each employee. Specify the target toward which the employee is working.
- Specify the deadlines for each goal
Putting deadlines on each goal reduces ambiguity. Deadlines, however, should not be set arbitrarily. Rather, they need to be realistic given the tasks to be completed.
- Allow the employee to actively participate
When employees participate in goal setting, they’re more likely to accept the goals. However, it must perceive that you are truly seeking their input, not just going through the motions.
- Prioritize goals
When you give someone more than one goal, it’s important for you to rank the goals in order of importance. The purpose of prioritizing is to encourage the employee to take action and expend effort on each goal in proportion to its importance.
- Rate goals for difficulty and importance
Goal setting should not encourage people to choose easy goals. Instead, goals should be rated for their difficulty and importance. When goals are rated, individuals can be given credit for trying difficult goals, even if they don’t fully achieve them.
- Build on feedback mechanisms to assess goal progress
Feedback lets employees know whether their level of effort is sufficient to attain the goal. Feedback should be both self-generated and supervisor generated. In either case, feedback should be frequent and recurring.
- Link rewards to goal attainment
It’s natural for employees to ask, “What’s in it for me?” Linking rewards to the achievement of goals will help answer that question.