23 Examples of Employee Performance Goals for 2023
Performance goals are an essential tool that managers use to ensure the success of their teams and organizations. They create a clear vision of what is expected from each employee. They encourage productivity, foster accountability, and create opportunities for employees to show their strengths. Setting these benchmarks is integral for the overall performance and productivity of the organization, bridging the gap between individual responsibility and collective goals.
By setting performance goals, managers can help their employees eliminate confusion from the workspace because employees can get specific directions on what they need to accomplish. Giving these goals as directions can also create a basis for feedback and evaluation. Along with providing direction, the goals provide tangible measures for success.
But, what are some examples of goals that a manager should give to his or her employees?
In this article, we present example goals for a variety of employee skills, including the following:
- Professional growth
- Soft skills
- People management
We also present examples of goal methodologies, including:
- SMART Goals
- Locke and Latham’s 5 Principles
- Goal Pyramid
When combined, these examples help you develop goals that are both focused on unique skills that an employee should master, while also adhering to tried and true goal methodologies.
Examples of Collaboration Goals
Collaboration fosters unity in the workplace and creates opportunities for the best work to be completed because many individuals are working together to complete a common objective. Collaboration performance goals can lead to a workspace that is better equipped to succeed with coworkers around them. In essence, collaboration performance goals can leverage the power of collective intelligence and drive the organization toward shared success.
Setting a collaboration performance goal begins with clearly defining what successful collaboration looks like in the specific context of your organization or team. It should involve metrics that quantify aspects of teamwork, such as the number of joint projects completed, frequency of interdepartmental meetings, or the quality of cooperative output. To meet this goal, the team could engage in activities like team-building exercises and joint decision-making activities that foster cooperation.
Examples of collaboration goals could include:
- "Increase the number of joint projects between different departments by 20% over the next quarter to promote interdepartmental communication and cooperation."
- "Implement bi-weekly collaborative problem-solving sessions to boost innovative thinking and strengthen team unity."
- "Improve team satisfaction scores by 15% in the next employee survey by fostering a more cooperative and supportive team environment."
Examples of Professional Growth Goals
Professional development performance goals are critical because they emphasize the importance of ongoing learning and skill enhancement in the workplace. Such goals can help individuals to remain competitive in their roles, increase job satisfaction, and facilitate career progression. In addition, these goals contribute to the company's success as employees are growing their skill sets, performing their jobs more effectively, and adapting to changes in the job requirements.
Setting a professional development goal involves identifying specific skills or knowledge areas that the employee needs to improve or acquire. It could be based on job requirements, future career aspirations, or feedback received during performance evaluations. The employee could engage in various activities such as attending workshops, undertaking online courses, seeking mentorship, or working on projects that develop the required skills to achieve these goals.
Examples of professional development goals could include:
- "Complete an advanced certification course in data analytics within the next six months to enhance decision-making skills in the role."
- "Attend at least two industry conferences in the next year to stay updated with the latest trends and practices."
- "Seek and engage in a mentorship program with a senior leader in the organization over the next quarter to gain insights and guidance for career growth."
Examples of Self-management Goals
Setting self-management goals is crucial because they encourage employees to take ownership of their responsibilities and performance. These goals cultivate independence, initiative, and personal accountability so that the office can run smoothly with fewer exact directions or guidelines from the manager. Managers should always be guiding employees to improve their work; however, no one knows someone’s weaknesses better than oneself.
A self-management goal could be set by identifying specific areas of improvement, such as time management, task prioritization, or stress management. Meeting this goal would require consistent practice and potentially the adoption of new strategies or tools. For example, someone aiming to improve their time management might begin using a digital planner or download performance management software.
Examples of self-management goals could include:
- "Improve time management by breaking each workday into strategic time blocks for specific tasks, aiming to reduce overtime hours by 15% over the next two months."
- "Enhance stress management by incorporating mindfulness techniques into daily routine, to decrease stress-related sick leaves by 20% in the next quarter."
- "Boost productivity by developing a system for prioritizing tasks, targeting a 10% increase in completed projects within deadlines over the next six months."
Examples of Soft Skills Goals
Soft skills goals in the workplace are important because they focus on interpersonal skills that are crucial for smooth and helpful communication in the workplace. These skills, which include communication, emotional intelligence, and adaptability, are often transferable across different roles and industries. They can enhance an employee's ability to work well with others, navigate workplace challenges, and contribute positively to the organizational culture.
A soft skills goal can be set by identifying specific behaviors or attributes that an employee wants to develop or improve. If an employee struggles to be kind or understanding in high-stress situations, there are ways to artificially curate scenarios in which he or she can hone those skills. Other examples are activities such as workshops, role-playing exercises, or seeking coaching or mentorship. These resources could help the employee reach his or her soft skills goal.
Examples of soft skills goals could include:
- "Improve public speaking and presentation skills by attending a public speaking workshop and presenting at least once per month at team meetings."
- "Enhance emotional intelligence by participating in an emotional intelligence training program and practicing active listening and empathy in daily interactions."
- "Develop stronger problem-solving abilities by leading a project that involves complex planning and decision-making, aiming to deliver the project successfully and receive positive feedback from the team."
Examples of Problem-solving Goals
Problem-solving goals are of paramount importance in the workplace. They encourage employees to develop and utilize their critical thinking skills to overcome challenges and obstacles. In tight deadlines or other high-stress situations, these goals could be crucial for enhancing productivity or contributing to better decision-making.
Setting a problem-solving goal involves identifying specific challenges that an employee often encounters in which they need to adapt quickly to succeed. Achieving this goal may require the employee to undertake specific training, such as workshops on critical thinking or creativity, or to gain more experience in tackling complex projects or tasks.
Examples of problem-solving goals could include:
- "Enhance analytical problem-solving skills by completing a relevant online course and successfully applying the learned techniques to at least two significant work-related problems in the next three months."
- "Reduce the average time to resolve customer complaints by 25% over the next quarter by developing and implementing a new customer service protocol."
- "Improve creative problem-solving skills by leading a project that requires innovative solutions, aiming for a successful project completion and positive feedback from the project team within six months."
Examples of Creativity Goals
Creativity performance goals in the workplace are essential because they promote innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. These goals empower employees to challenge the status quo, explore new ideas, and feel free to be transparent with coworkers. They can lead to the development of new products, services, or processes, offering competitive advantages to the organization.
Setting a creativity goal involves identifying opportunities for innovative thinking within an individual's role or team. It may require the encouragement of risk-taking, brainstorming sessions, or providing time and resources for creative pursuits. Meeting these goals could involve participating in workshops or courses that foster creativity, seeking inspiration from diverse sources, or regularly dedicating time to brainstorming and ideation.
Examples of creativity goals could include:
- "Generate at least three new ideas each month for improving the team's workflow or processes."
- "Develop and implement an innovative solution to a longstanding departmental challenge within the next six months."
- "Participate in a creative thinking workshop and apply learned techniques in daily work, aiming to contribute at least two innovative ideas for team projects in the next quarter."
Examples of Goals for New Employees
Setting goals and staying consistent with those goals are both important, but for some employees, setting these goals can be even more challenging. For new employees, it can be difficult to see goals that should be completed because there is no context for what you need to do. If you are a new employee and are having difficulty seeing goals that you should meet, consider using these examples as guidelines:
- "Familiarize yourself with the company's products, services, and key processes within the first month of employment."
- "Build relationships with all team members and key stakeholders by arranging introductory meetings or informal catch-ups within the first two weeks."
- "Complete all onboarding training modules and demonstrate understanding of your role and responsibilities by the end of the first month."
- "Contribute to your first team project or task, demonstrating understanding of job responsibilities and alignment with team objectives within the first three months."
- “Purposely and intentionally go out and seek advice and feedback from a manager to see what else you could be doing or accomplishing.”
The SMART Goal Methodology
SMART is an acronym that represents a framework for creating effective goals. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. When setting performance goals, using the SMART methodology ensures that objectives are clear, realistic, and capable of making a tangible impact.
Specific goals are well-defined and clear about what is to be achieved, avoiding vagueness. Measurable goals can be quantified or evaluated, allowing for clear tracking of progress and ultimate success. Achievable goals are realistic, taking into account resources, constraints, and abilities. Relevant goals align with broader team or organizational objectives, ensuring the work contributes to larger goals. Lastly, Time-Bound goals have a specific deadline or timeframe, which adds a sense of urgency and helps motivate progress. SMART goals make sure to emphasize the achievability and realistic possibility that the goal can be completed. With SMART goals, employees can become more motivated because they feel that the goals are doable and still significant.
The OKRs Methodology
OKR is an acronym for Objectives and Key Results, a popular goal-setting framework that helps organizations set, track, and achieve their goals. Objectives are broad, qualitative descriptions of what you want to achieve. Ideally, they are significant, concrete, action-oriented, and inspiring. Key Results, on the other hand, are a set of specific, measurable, and time-bound metrics that gauge the achievement of the objective. They are quantifiable, achievable, and lead to objective grading.
OKRs work on multiple levels. At the organizational level, they provide a clear direction and help to align all departments towards common goals. At the team level, they promote focus and coordination, encouraging each team to work together towards their Key Results. At the individual level, they offer clarity on what each employee needs to accomplish and how their work contributes to the overall objective. OKRs can display a comforting, optimistic, and general approach while still assessing the barebones requirements of certain goals. When used effectively, OKRs can significantly improve the performance, alignment, and engagement of both teams and individuals.
Locke and Latham’s 5 Principles
Locke and Latham's goal-setting theory is one of the most influential and practical theories in organizational psychology, focusing on the impact of goal-setting on individual performance. Their theory is built around five key principles: clarity, challenge, commitment, feedback, and task complexity.
The clarity principle emphasizes the need for goals to be clear and specific, avoiding ambiguity. Specific, well-defined goals are easier to understand and act upon. The challenge principle suggests that goals should be challenging yet attainable. Challenging goals stimulate effort, persistence, and ambition. Commitment relates to the level of personal investment and motivation toward the goal. Greater commitment often leads to higher effort and determination to reach the goal.
The feedback principle stresses the importance of providing feedback on progress toward goals. Feedback allows individuals to adjust their effort, strategies, and actions to better align with the goal. Task complexity is the final principle. It cautions that if a task is highly complex, individuals need sufficient time and resources to practice or learn about the task to avoid becoming overwhelmed. This may require setting short-term sub-goals to support the ultimate goal. Incorporating these five principles when setting goals can significantly enhance motivation and performance.
The BHAG Goals Methodology
BHAG, an acronym for "Big Hairy Audacious Goal," is a term coined by business consultants James Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. BHAGs are very different from other typical types of performance goals. A BHAG is a long-term goal that changes the very nature of a business's existence. BHAGs are bigger, bolder, and more powerful than regular long and short-term goals. They typically take a 10-30 year commitment, but they are exciting, tangible, and something everyone just "gets" without any further explanation.
A BHAG is meant to shift how a company sees itself and instills a sense of purpose and urgency, stimulating progress and acting as a unifying focal point for a team effort. This bold goal might appear to be outside of what the team can currently achieve, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. It requires the organization to stretch beyond its comfort zone and rethink how it operates. While not all BHAGs are achieved, they inspire organizations to rise to the challenge and achieve more than they thought possible, acting as a driving force behind major strategic and operational changes.
The Goal Pyramid Methodology
The Goal Pyramid is a visual representation that helps individuals and organizations hierarchically structure their goals. The pyramid starts from the top with the main goal and cascades down to smaller, more actionable steps. This approach provides a clear roadmap toward achieving the main goal, as each level in the pyramid is a stepping stone toward the next one.
At the top of the pyramid is the main goal or the overarching objective, which is typically broad and long-term. This could be an individual's personal goal or an organization's strategic objective. As you move down the pyramid, the goals become more specific, achievable, and time-bound, acting as milestones on the way to achieving the main goal. These could include medium-term goals, short-term goals, and daily actions or habits. The Goal Pyramid helps to break down the journey toward the main goal into manageable steps, making the process less overwhelming and more achievable. It enables individuals and organizations to see how everyday actions contribute to broader objectives, enhancing motivation and providing a sense of progress.
Additional Aspects to Consider
Keeping track of performance goals is a crucial part of ensuring they are met. It allows for adjustments to be made along the way, keeps individuals and teams focused, and provides a clear picture of progress toward the goal.
One effective way to track performance goals is by regularly reviewing them. Going back weekly or monthly can greatly assist employees in accomplishing their goals. This act is essential for goal completion because it keeps the goals at the forefront of your attention. Additionally, employees should do these check-ins on their own instead of exclusively waiting for their performance reviews. Keeping this schedule can help organization and productivity.
A tool that can help employees organize and track performance goals is performance management software like PerformYard. This type of software provides a central place to define, track, and review goals. It often includes features for setting specific, measurable, and time-bound goals, assigning them to individuals or teams, and tracking progress. Additionally, the software can often generate reports and visualizations that provide a clear picture of how well the goals are being met.
PerformYard can facilitate ongoing feedback and communication regarding the goals that are set after a performance review. This feedback allows for a more communal and unified set of goals that are important for the whole organization to keep track of. Furthermore, using performance management software can set the alignment of individual and team goals with the larger organizational objectives. This facilitation provides a clear line of sight from everyday tasks to the overall mission of the organization.