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4 Ways to Help Employees Set Better Goals

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A new year symbolizes a new start -- and a perfect time to reexamine employee goals for the year ahead. In an effort to hit the ground running in the new year, employers should set employees up to create and achieve goals that align with the company vision.

What roles can employers play in employee goal setting? Here are just a few ways employers can help employees set better goals for the new year:

1. Redefine the company mission

A company’s mission defines what it stands for -- the reason for its existence. And yet, according to a 2012 Gallup study of more than 3,000 U.S. workers, only about four in 10 employees know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors.

Related: The 3 Secrets to Building An All-Star Startup Team

To help employees set goals that are relevant to the company, help them better understand the overall mission. Redefining the company mission and mapping out the company-wide goals needed to maintain that mission will help employees set goals that more accurately align with company goals.

Employers must clearly communicate strategic business objectives and update employees on progress made as often as possible. Employees who have a clear understanding of the company mission and how their individual goals relate to the company’s success will likely become more engaged.

2. Make it a collaborative process

The process of setting individual work goals shouldn’t be the responsibility of just the employee. Instead, it should be a collaborative process between employer and employee. Collaborating on work goals ensures that those goals are better aligned with the company mission. Help employees set goals that will make a difference by having them use the SMART framework. Goals should be:

Specific: Goals should answer who, what, when, where and why.

Measurable: Use concrete numbers so goals have measurable outcomes.

Attainable: Set employees up for success by setting goals that are within reach.

Relevant: Employee goals should closely tie to company-wide goals.  

Timely: To maintain a sense of urgency, goals should be grounded within a time frame.

Related: A CEO's New Year's Resolutions to Improve Employee Satisfaction

3. Review past goal achievement

To set better goals for the future, employers and employees should look at past individual goal achievement. Were past goals achieved in a timely manner? Were they specific enough? Looking at past performance will help employees create goals that are more likely to be met.

Furthermore, being aware of progress on goals enables employers to step in with assistance or resources when necessary. Reviewing goal achievement during quarterly performance reviews can aid employees in future goal setting and achievement.    

4. Set up an achievement plan

Goal setting doesn’t stop at defining goals. Creating a goal-achievement plan is an essential part of the goal-setting process. To ensure that employees are actively working toward their goals, set up a timeline for what has to be done and when. Additionally, breaking up long-term goals into smaller, more achievable goals can help employees feel less overwhelmed.

Having a visual reminder, like a calendar, of the goals need to be accomplished for the quarter and year will help motivate employees and keep them on track.    

How do you help employees set better work-related goals? Please share your tips in the comment section below!  

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