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How to Help your Employees Set their Goals?

Employee goal management is an important process in every organization. As a manager, in an organization, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees fulfill their duties properly and effectively. The key to goal setting is to increase employee potential. Employees need to fulfill their goals on time so that it directly reflects on the productivity of the organization. When you fall short of your responsibilities it might have detrimental consequences on your team and hamper the success and reputation of your business. Let us look at the benefits of goal-setting.   

Goal setting is a widely used concept in organizations. Goal setting is the process by which managers develop action plans to guide the employee in fulfilling their duties properly. It is aimed to motivate the employees to perform their duties effectively. Goals help in motivating and bringing a sense of commitment to the employees. However, sometimes, managers often do not pay attention to this important process because they have meetings once in a blue moon, talk about the employee’s performance and fail to address the needs of the employees.  

The simple reason why some employees outperform others is that they have their goals clearly outlined for them. Employee goal management must be accompanied by variables such as continuous feedback, employee engagement, rewards and recognition. Managers must make the most out of their employees’ potential. In order to do this, they must focus on setting professional goals for employees. At times, it is also important that you help employees set their own goals, whichever suits their job best.   

Goals always involve the motivation factor to increase the performance of the employee. Therefore, let us look at some of the strategies through which you can help employees set professional goals:  

Understand your employees  

Every employee is unique. They want different things and they learn things in various ways. As a manager, it is important that you tailor your communication strategies to suit the individual employees. Since every employee has a different personality, you ought to spend some time getting to know your employees, what drives them and what does not. Talking to your employees may give you an insight into how you can tailor goals for them.  

Involve your employees  

As a manager, it is understandable that it becomes your responsibility to ensure that employees meet their goals on time. Sometimes you might find it necessary that you set their goals yourself. But employees like autonomy sometimes. They do not want to be told each time what goals they are supposed to fulfill. In such a scenario, try to involve your employees in the goal-setting process. Ask them what can be done to meet the needs of the business. Probing questions can really help them think and they can come up with their own goals to meet business needs. This is not just prevalent to goal management, but it is an effective way to establish employee engagement as well.  

SMART Criterion  

This is probably the best parameter that you could use to help your employees set their goals. SMART essentially stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. When you are helping your employees set their goals, make sure that their goals are aligned according to the SMART criterion. There is a vast difference between “writing articles for the blog” versus “writing 20 articles for the blog at the end of the 30th of July”. The latter is measurable and has a timeline attached to it. Employees must be able to measure their progress and that is how they get motivated to complete their goals on time. 

Communicate the company objectives clearly  

As a manager, it is important that you ensure that you communicate the vision and mission of the organization. Setting goals is one thing, but it is important that employees know how they are contributing to the bigger picture. It is important that you communicate the objectives and company core values clearly so that employees can set goals aligning with the objectives of the business. When employees realize how they are contributing to the success of the organization, they will be motivated to meet their goals effectively.  

Ensure uniformity in goals  

As a manager, it is important that you ensure consistency in the goals that are being set for your employees. Employee goals must be uniform in the sense it should be similar for all your employees, only with different responsibilities. Uniformity in goals can avoid a lot of biases at the workplace. You can prevent all the partiality and controversies just by setting their goals uniformly. An employee must not end up harboring jealousy for another employee. Also, think about how this will reflect on your role as a leader and a team manager.  

Hold them accountable  

This partially runs into the second point where I said that it is important to involve your employees in the goal-setting process. Encouraging employees to come up with their own goals is one thing, but it is also important that you hold them accountable for fulfilling those goals. Trust your employees with their goals and empower them to hold accountability for their goals. Let them take the initiative and ownership to do the right thing for your business to succeed. Offer your assistance in case there are issues or gaps.  


As a manager, you are equally as responsible as your team. Employee goal management needs to be a collaborative process and to ensure this, bring in a culture of continuous feedback. Spend some significant time with your employees and discuss what is important for the business. Elicit their responses on the goal-setting process and let them be open about their issues with the work that they are doing. When you have identified how each employee functions, their issues and the way they execute their tasks, you can tailor your goal-setting process accordingly so that it suits each individual employee.   

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