Squad Goals: A Leader’s Guide to Employee Goal-Setting

ITA Group
ITA Group

Employees goal setting with post-it notes on a glass wall.

Regardless of your favorite historical figure, the sentiment still applies today.

And just like a well-planned organizational strategy, goal-setting is an important activity that takes time and strategy for desired results. While leadership and (sometimes) management is responsible for setting goals, the entire organization is responsible for carrying them out diligently. Alignment can be difficult if managers don’t understand the strengths, weaknesses and motivations of their people. One surefire way to familiarize managers with their employees’ wants, needs and goals is to establish open and honest communication. 

It Starts with Management

Discovering strengths, weaknesses and career goals should be a team effort so leaders can easily and frequently assess their work, set milestones and think about the big picture. Only 26% of Millennials feel their employers are actually invested in their professional development. Collaborating on goals will help them feel connected and will allow them to plan reasonable, attainable and concrete goals with managers.

But be aware: micromanagement is a danger here—of those who had experienced it, 71% said micromanagement interfered with job performance. Once a manager sets a goal for their employee, they must trust that employee to complete it. However, the manager should be available if the employee requests help.

Unite and Motivate Your Employees

Goal setting is critically important to individuals and their managers. Gallup found that knowing what is expected of them at work was critical to employees remaining engaged in their work. Other researchers point out the additional benefits of setting high-quality goals, including, but not limited to, finding your flow.

Goals provide a framework for expectation setting, and help structure the efforts of each employee in a given period of time.

By setting clear goals for each team member, reviewing and adjusting them regularly during your ongoing employee conversations, and providing frequent feedback on their progress, you can build alignment and increase team performance. Not sure if your employees know where the organization is headed? Ask them. When employees understand the strategic vision for their team and organization, they’re much more likely to leverage their own skills and talent in efficient and effective ways to help the company succeed.

Offer a Path to Professional Development

Employee goals are a great mechanism for professional development progress.

Through regular goal-setting, you and your employee can compile a list of micro-milestones aimed at developing skills and experiences needed to reach the next level. This can range from speaking at a conference to leading a project to simply showing up for work each day on time.

Micro-milestones aimed at the bigger picture make career growth clear and achievable.

Related: Learn more about setting goals and discover the best practices for creating a meaningful incentive program for employee goals.

Help to Reduce Stress

One of the great benefits of goal-setting is that it acts as an effective stress reliever. It’s true. Without goals to guide you, you may develop a tendency to jump from one project or task to another instead of focusing on the most important needs of your business. As a result, you may come to realize that your overall production is suffering and you'll be wondering what you're actually accomplishing, creating a sense of worry.

Get Going with Goal-Setting

Goal-setting is an important component of employee motivation. Setting and achieving goals keeps employees looking forward to new accomplishments and rewards, pushing their performance to ever-increasing heights. Want to explore more ways to motivate employees? Check out our Scaling Motivations ebook to discover more about the complex ways in which motivation operates and how leaders can scale it with measurable results.

Are your employees motivated? They will be. Download our ebook.