How to Set SMART Employee Goals?

how to set employee goals

A successful business requires motivated, engaged, and enthusiastic employees. Employees who feel good about what they do and are valued will perform better, be more productive, and have a positive impact on the business as a whole.

Any industry should prioritize fostering employee engagement. A great way to keep your employees engaged and motivated is to encourage them to set developmental goals that are always progress-oriented.

It takes more than checking off the manager’s “to-do” list for employee goal setting to be effective. Find out how to implement employee goals within your organization and learn how to make this practice highly effective.

What is employee goal setting?

Setting workplace goals requires setting specific, measurable, and rule-based objectives that employees will work towards while at your company. A manager and a direct report usually work together to set employee goals. The company considers the employee’s goals for personal development, the requirements of their desired role in the future, as well as resources available.

In this way, you would be able to measure performance throughout their tenure with your organization and evaluate development progress as well as suggest any upskilling or ongoing education that may be needed to accomplish these goals. You can set them up as short-term or long-term, and any rewards should be based on their impact.

Challenges of goal setting

Even though employee goal-setting has a number of benefits, there are also a number of challenges you may face in order to realize those benefits. Some of these challenges include:

  • Uncertain goals
  • Goals are not aligned with company strategy
  • Excessive or unrealistic expectations
  • It seems impossible to track progress

To know more about what are the do’s and don’ts of employee upskilling visit our blog.

How to Facilitate Better Employee Goal Setting

1. Set and achieve SMART goals

It is useless to set goals without a plan. Nowadays, organizations rely heavily on SMART goals.

SMART goals are simple to understand. They stand for:

Specific Goals

Specificity, clarity, and straightforwardness are important in setting goals. Employees are only confused about the goal’s purpose when vaguely stated goals are used.
Employees will feel confused if their goals are unclear about what is expected of them.
Before setting goals for your employees, ask yourself four questions:

  • What is my goal for each employee? How will I measure success?
  • When will this goal be achieved?
  • How will this goal be accomplished?
  • Which resources are necessary to accomplish this goal?

Measurable Goals

Employees should have “trackable” SMART goals to stay motivated and keep on track.

Clearly defining specific, measurable goals will highlight the effort necessary for achieving them.

Achievable Goals

Unattainable goals only lead to employee demotivation.
Set achievable goals such as these:

  • Set your goals high enough to motivate your employees.
  • In terms of resources and time, the cost must be low enough so that it is still feasible.

Relevant Goals

SMART goals take into account their relevance in terms of:

  • The conditions for achieving the goal.
  • It is possible that some unexpected circumstances might stand in the way of achieving the goal.
  • In addition, there may be other urgent matters that interfere with accomplishing a particular goal. 
  • Also, resources may not be readily available.

Time-bound Goals

The time-bound approach allocates a certain amount of time to each plan. This ensures that daily tasks do not interfere with the priority of achieving goals.

2. Make sure employee goals are aligned with business goals.

It is important that every individual goal serves team objectives or business objectives

Aligning business and personal goals is a key aspect of goal-setting for employees

Thus, in order to maximize goal-setting results for employees, every goal should balance employee objectives with business objectives.

Furthermore, when employees get a chance to set their own goals, they are more likely to stay committed, which in turn increases the probability of achieving the goal.

3. Collaboration To Set Stronger Employee Goals

According to a Forbes article published in 2013, collaborating with peers on goals will increase your likelihood of success. The study revealed that people who shared their goals with their colleagues had a 75% higher chance of success than those who worked alone.

The benefit of collaboration is that it allows a person to see different viewpoints and approaches to reaching a goal. It also gives employees a boost of confidence to know someone else is there for them.

Here are a few ways you can work collaboratively to set goals:

  • Team members need to know about the goals that individuals are working on in order to make progress on team goals. Transparency is the key here.
  • It’s also a good idea to share the big goals among team members; giving one person sole responsibility for achieving a big goal is risky.
  • The use of project management tools makes setting and reaching goals a breeze. Tools such as Skype, Trello, and Slack have proven popular among corporates today.

4. Recognizing performance achievements

When done correctly – on a regular basis and at the right time – recognition is an amazing tool. It allows people to understand how their efforts have contributed to organizational success.

Engaged employees are more likely to continue performing at a high level as opposed to disengaged ones.

Recognizing your employees when they meet goals is a powerful way to build a culture of appreciation and enhance employee performance.

Also, there are many ineffective methods of recognizing employees that do little or nothing to motivate them. In such cases, having a corporate reward and recognition program can provide timely, frequent, and valuable recognition.

5. Integrate performance management with goal setting

It is essential to manage performance in order to ensure employees have met their performance goals, regardless of their role.

The majority of companies with effective performance management systems connect the employees’ goals to the company’s priorities. 

Employees at every level should be able to see the impact of their efforts on the company’s success.

To be effective, every major business priority must be transformed into clear goals. Your strategy will be easier to measure if you can prioritize tasks accordingly.

Set personal goals while clearly communicating team goals to employees.

Make employee goals a priority today

It is clear that implementing employee goal setting within your organization can have many advantages, from increased engagement to better retention. In addition, your team members will know that you care about their growth and are committed to helping them advance their careers.

KloudLearn LMS demonstrates the right tools and guidance to help you successfully implement your enterprise training program. You can choose from a variety of courses in our content library. Keep track of employees’ progress and evaluate their performance. Check out KloudLearn or schedule a demo to learn how you can transform your training program.


What should the objectives of employees be?

The objectives of each employee should be matched with the company's overall growth strategy. Employees are frequently more driven and motivated to attain goals that result in success for both the company and individuals when they understand how their specific roles and responsibilities contribute to the larger picture.

How to Set Goals for your Employees?

A manager can not only support growth in employee performance by creating measurable and achievable goals, but also actively help grow the business and increase its reputation as an employer of choice by setting measurable and achievable goals.

Why are goals for employees important?

Employees might be encouraged by achieving goals.setting goals, according to studies, could help employees feel closer to their workplace.

What are the 5 reasons goals are important?

5 Reasons Why Setting Goals Is Important Goals point you in the right direction. Setting goals might help to determine what is really important to you. Setting goals allows us to track our progress in achieving our objectives. Goals assist you in staying positive.setting goals forces you to be more accountable.

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