Overcoming Challenges in Employee Goal Setting

Performance Management

People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.

Nothing else can sound more precise and correct than these words quoted by Earl Nightingale, a respected author and speaker with interests in subjects of motivation & human character development.

Employee goal setting is a method to clearly outline the task(s) that an individual has to perform in a given time limit. As a manager, most of you already know that without setting clear goals, it is very difficult to grow, achieve bigger targets, track individual performance and reward top performers continuously. The most critical part of a manager’s job is to set up goals for his team members and constantly track their progress.

On the other side, employees are always interested in knowing how their individual contribution is adding more value to organizational goals. I would say – setting up right employee goals clearly define this connection for employees as well as managers.

We all know that goal setting has never been an easy task for managers and employees. Yet managers and leadership focus on goal management to foster work-life balance and create culture of trust & open communication. Well-defined goals give a clear direction to employees and help them to understand their daily tasks.

Performance goals are the short-term objectives which are defined to:

  • » Set clear expectations of employee work targets
  • » Create measurable performance standards
  • » Establish connection between an employee goals and organizational objectives

Unfortunately, employee goal setting comes with bundle of challenges. Some of them are listed below.


Challenge #1 Setting Ambiguous & Unrealistic Goals

Unrealistic and unclear goals create a culture of dissatisfaction and disengagement amongst the workforce. Vague work goals make employees unaware of what-to-do and how-to-achieve.

When goals are not clearly defined to employees, they face difficulties in succeeding manager expectations. Therefore, it is really important to have the basics clear. Employees need easy-to-understand goals to perform better within stipulated time limits.

Having an effective goal setting system allows managers and employees to set SMART goals. The concept of setting SMART goals makes it easier for employees to have specific, realistic tasks on their goal sheets. It also helps them to find answers to following questions:

  • » Are goals clear, measurable and specific – that can easily track progress of employees?
  • » Are the assigned goals mutually discussed between manager and an employee?
  • » Are assigned goals helpful to employees in their career growth?

Always remember, an employee with explicit goals has a better chance to accomplish them and deliver exceptional performance.

Challenge #2 Unable to Identify Time Limit to Achieve Specific Goals

Employees are often seen chasing their daily goals without paying attention to the quality of work. This usually happens when goals are set with impractical time limits.

Choosing an achievable time limit to complete short-term goals is extremely important so that employees can identify the maximum time they can take to achieve specific goals. With the help of a reliable goal setting tool, employees can have goals with clear beginning and ending points.

Challenge #3 Difficulty to Track Progress at Each Step

Without having well-defined targets, it becomes quite difficult for managers to track real-time progress of their employees at each step. Inaccurate goal setting fails in evaluating accomplishments of an employee over a given time period.

In absence of an online goal setting tool, it becomes difficult to identify employees who are unable to achieve assigned goals. As a result, managers are not able to evaluate individual performance of employees and provide constructive feedback to them.

The key to successful goal management is through an iterative feedback by tracking continuous progress. With a cloud-based goal setting system, managers can easily find out the status of goal achievement and educate employees with meaningful feedback.

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Challenge #4 Improper Approach for Goal Allocation

Goal setting helps employees to understand their short-term tasks whereas it enables managers to track employee performance. In a top-down approach, managers allocate goals to ensure employee goals are aligned with organizational goals. Though top-to-bottom goal allocation benefits employers, still it is not accepted well by employees. This creates a sense of dissatisfaction among employees and reduces performance levels.

Employees appreciate KRA-based, self-assigned and team-based goal allocation process in which their growth and development is given utmost priority. Having a reliable goal setting tool enables an employer to run multiple goal allocation processes.

Many organizations have witnessed immense growth in employee and business performance when they have efficiently established individual goals and closely associated them to organization’s overall strategy. All this has been possible with strategic and well-planned goal management.

Don’t you agree?

No doubt, having an advanced online goal allocation software makes lives of managers and employees easier. It helps to communicate employee goals company-wide, and give responsibility to employees to achieve those goals. Using an online tool, employees and managers can mutually decide on setting up small goals such that they step forward on the right track to achieve long-term goals.

How Does an Automated Goal Setting Tool Benefits Managers, HR and Employees?

  • » Allows setting SMART goals which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.
  • » Simplifies goal allocation by multiple methods –
    • Top-down (keeping organizational objectives in mind)
    • KRA-based goal allocation (as per job description)
    • Team-based goals (manager assigns goals within the team)
    • Self-assigned goals (employees assign goals to themselves)
  • » Gives configurable workflow which can be managed according to company needs.
  • » Supports regular monitoring and tracking of goal allocation process.
  • » Allows managers to easily define weight to each goal.
  • » Enables managers to allocate goals to multiple team members concurrently.
  • » Presents multiple reports on the goal setting & tracking process.
  • » Allows managers to make accurate decisions in appraisal process by viewing what was assigned and what has been achieved.

Sounds good… right?

Employees – who have clear understanding of their goals – are able to relate better with the organizational goals. Successful organizations realize that all their achievements are possible with the ability to communicate, manage and track employee goals. Since every organization wants to reach on top, it is necessary to keep the basics strong and precise with clear goal setting approach.

So, what are you waiting for!

Try an automated goal setting system now and implement it in your organization to make your workforce more efficient.

TAGS: Goal Setting and tracking, performance evaluation, Performance Management

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