How To Help Your Employees Set and Track Individual Goals to Drive Results
One of the most important things to think about when embarking in a career is: what are your goals? After all, these will always serve as a compass to move towards something better.
There’s no joy in showing up to work just for a paycheck. While compensation is certainly necessary, most people need more than that to keep them showing up long-term.
So what can you do to help your employees set and track individual goals? Do personal and professional goals ever overlap? And what’s the best way to keep tabs on their progress on their way to achieving them?
- What is Goal Setting?
- Why Does Goal Setting Matter?
- What is the Difference Between Personal Goals and Professional Goals?
- How Do Personal and Professional Goals Overlap?
- How To Help Your Team Set Goals
- How To Help Your Team Track Goals
- Achieve Your Goals Faster with BrightGauge's Data Dashboards
What Is Goal Setting?
Goal setting is a way to take an abstract concept and create a blueprint for an action plan. It’s a way to motivate and guide a person to deliberately work towards something. But not all goal setting is created equal.
Even within this process, there are different types of goal setting:
1. Outcome Goals
This is the big kahuna of goals; the end point of what you wish to accomplish. For example, signing up for a marathon means that you’re going to run 26.2 miles. So crossing that finish line is the outcome.
Maybe you want to go even more hardcore and say that you’re going to run it in less than four hours. But you can’t just show up and run it. Although this is the end goal, there are steps involved to getting there, which brings us to performance and process goals.
2. Performance Goals
To achieve the outcome goal, you will have to break it down into measurable steps. For example, first train for a 5K, then for a 10K, then for a half marathon. You may either choose to simply cross each of them off the list, or set time goals for them.
Either way, as you accomplish them, each performance builds upon the previous one. As you do so, you keep riding the wave of momentum towards the next marker, until you’re ready to tackle that marathon.
3. Process Goals
Process goals give you even more details of the path to follow. This is done by establishing the processes to get to the performance goals, and then to the outcome goals.
For example, this could include running x number of miles a day, alternated between strength training days. Maybe hire a coach. Get informed on optimal nutrition. These processes give you something tangible to focus on every single day you show up to train.
As you can see, setting goals provides motivation, while establishing processes and milestones helps you keep your eye on the prize. It’s also important to set up what are known as SMART goals. The acronym stands for:
In order to have something to move forward to, you need to define what it is that you wish to accomplish. It’s not the same thing to say: “I want the company to make more money,” than to say “I want to increase profits by 30% by the end of the year.”
Once you have a goal set in place, you want to establish parameters to track your progress. Going back to the 30% increase in revenue, you can split it into how much more you should be making each quarter, which can be further broken down into how many more clients you are signing up every month.
You have to be realistic about your goals. If you have been increasing your annual sales gradually and the trends show 30% to be a realistic number, go for it. But if the trends reflect 30% to be achievable, don’t try to raise the stakes by declaring that you want to double your sales. That will only set you up for disappointment.
If you want to get more clients — or more upsell/cross sell opportunities — it behooves you to invest time and resources into accomplishing that. Now is not the time to look for a bigger office location, focus your energies on your influencer side gig, or organize your days around something that has nothing to do with your main goal of increasing sales by 30%.
Always give yourself a deadline. Otherwise, it becomes way too easy to keep pushing things back to accommodate procrastination. Establishing a specific date by which to accomplish your goals also lets you organize the smaller steps accordingly and keep your team motivated.
Why Does Goal Setting Matter?
No matter the job setting, it’s crucial for employees to feel like what they’re doing actually matters. It’s good to know that all of their efforts are contributing to the employer’s goals — whether they’re weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Knowing that they’re helping move the needle forward gives them a sense of purpose. In a more micro sense, the benefits of setting goals at work include:
- Knowing where to place one’s focus and what to prioritize
- Having a roadmap from which to track progress
- Gaining momentum as individual tasks are completed
- Experiencing a sense of accomplishment with every milestone met
- Providing additional motivation
- Providing a means to keep everyone on the team accountable
What Is the Difference Between Personal Goals and Professional Goals?
Professional goals have to do with your career. They include both short and long term objectives.
And while it may be tempting to think that it all relates to what makes you the most money, in reality, compensation is one of many factors that come into play to make a person feel accomplished — health benefits, 401(k), stock options, room for upward mobility, skills learned, continuing education, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, sick leave, paid parental leave, etc.
Personal goals involve what you wish to accomplish within your lifestyle: Sleep more, register for a CrossFit competition, read more books, spend more time with family, finally write that novel, and learn how to cook a gourmet five course meal. In other words, this is what’s often seen as the fun stuff.
While it may seem obvious at first glance (e.g. having a healthier lifestyle vs. making 30% extra in profits), the line between personal and professional goals often go hand in hand.
How Do Personal and Professional Goals Overlap?
Personal and professional goals have different labels because they each refer to different aspects of your life. But the common denominator is that it’s your life. Therefore, it’s only natural that they overlap.
Even if you’re the type of person who likes to keep your personal and professional life separate, the reality is that most people spend the majority of their life at work. Even if you work from home, you have work responsibilities that require your attention for most of the day.
And whether your professional goal is to work towards an advanced degree, a promotion, or a specific career path, your definition of success will definitely have a significant impact on your personal goals.
Ok. So what are those personal goals? Maybe you want to change your body composition by developing muscles. Maybe you want to purchase a home in a specific part of town you love. Maybe you want to travel the world, eat healthier, or meditate more often.
While all of these things are done outside of work, they are greatly influenced by what you can accomplish at work — your salary, your time off, your actual ability to take that time off, reasonable working hours, etc. They are often put on the back burner, since they usually don’t carry the urgency of professional goals.
Therefore, both professional and personal goals, in the end, are personal goals. You are trying to reach an objective that you believe will help you in becoming happier.
How To Help Your Team Set Goals
Break Down Major Goals Into Manageable Steps
Going back to the marathon example, big goals can feel overwhelming. To better manage big goals, you want to establish short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals.
Use software to assign daily tasks, so that the business objectives aren’t just some abstract concept. As employees cross each thing off the list, they’ll get a sense of accomplishment.
Put It in Writing
Verbal communications can be miscommunicated, recalled incompletely, or forgotten. By putting your goals in writing, you’re giving employees a point of reference. Define them clearly.
Include what the specific goals are, how you’re breaking them up into manageable steps, what are the resources and tools available to accomplish them, and how to track progress. Include processes for every step of the way. Creating this knowledge base gives your team the peace of mind that comes from being able to easily reference a document for clarification.
Provide Adequate Training
In order to reach a destination, everyone must be rowing in the same direction. And to get everyone to do so, you must first show them how to do it — how to handle situations at work (bottlenecks, conflicts, common customer concerns) and how to complete tasks (do you want them to do it a particular way, or can they work at their discretion?)
This also lets them know what your expectations are, which will make it a lot easier for them to meet them.
Ask for Feedback
Your team is on the front lines. They know what’s working and what’s not. They know whether a particular software helps them do their jobs effectively, or whether they need something better.
Keep an open door policy and let your team know that you’re always willing to listen to what they have to contribute to improve processes. Also, take the initiative to ask them directly — during one-on-one meetings and/or through anonymous surveys.
The only way to know if what you’re doing is working is to compare where you are today versus where you were a few weeks ago. Are you inching your way towards your goal? If so, keep at it. If not, it’s time to reassess and develop new strategies.
For accurate measuring, always look at the numbers: projects started, projects completed, new prospects, new signed customers, etc.
Praising success lets your team know that you’re aware of their efforts and accomplishments. This makes them feel seen and valued. In turn, they are more motivated to continue working to accomplish the collective business goals.
How To Help Your Team Track Goals
Everyone on your team should be tracking goals. And to do so, you need adequate tools. One of the most effective ways to do this is to set up a dashboard with the numbers that matter to you. Depending on your specific goals, this can include:
- Number of website visitors
- Number of people filling out forms in landing pages
- Number of prospects scheduling sales calls
- Bounce rates on webpages
- Tasks completed daily
- Sales, upsells, and cross sells
Achieve Your Goals Faster With BrightGauge’s Data Dashboards
With a variety of pre-built dashboard templates and a fully customizable system with filters for your departments, BrightGauge’s dashboard solutions can help you stay on track, adjust when needed, and meet your goals, short and long term. You can use existing dashboards or build your own, depending on your needs, and our team is ready to assist.