Goal Setting is Critical for Employee Engagement and Company Success

December 29th, 2011 by

Tuesday’s post featured information for conducting productive employee performance reviews. In addition to the four key elements listed in that post, employee goal setting is another important part of the review process. Goal setting is helpful for managers and employees. Managers have multiple opportunities to provide employees with feedback during this process, and they are able to identify their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Employees can see how their individual contributions affect and support their company’s bottom line when they begin making goals. If goal setting is done correctly, managers have measurable results to verify that employees met or did not meet their assigned goals, which is helpful when determining rewards and future career paths.

Appropriate goal setting can motivate employees to produce stellar work. Managers should help their direct reports create suitable goals for their positions. Assisting workers with goal setting keeps managers informed about the personal and professional interests their workers have.

 Successful companies have their employees set goals frequently—quarterly, monthly or even weekly—not just once a year. Here are a few tips to help goal setting run smoothly:


1. Know What You Want Accomplished

Employee goals should align with company goals. Managers should inform their staffs that their roles are essential for bringing the company success, and they should help their staffs tailor goals that will bring additional success.

Managers may have several goals that they would like their employees to accomplish, but they also need to consider the goals their employees would like to attain. Simply ask employees what they would like to achieve, and if their objectives are appropriate, help them create action plans. Employees are more likely to be engaged in their work when they see how their efforts benefit them and their company.

Sometimes managers and employees are overzealous with the amount of goals they create for themselves. All goals should support the overall company mission, so strive for quality instead of quantity when establishing them.

2. Can They Reach Them?

Unrealistic goals benefit no one. In order for employees to be happy at their workplace and produce good work for their employers, they need to receive fairness with demands and expectations. Goals that are too high or impossible to reach will leave employees feeling helpless. Keep their morale high and stress low by tailoring goals to their skill set, position and career growth. Goals should be both challenging and attainable.

When employees are satisfied with their specific goals, have them strategize ways to accomplish them. Break large goals into several projects and help employees set deadlines and determine adequate progress for each one.

3. Be Present

Goals are often unmet because of a lack of supervision from managers. This problem is easily avoidable if managers and employees agree to meet and discuss the progress of each goal frequently. Micromanaging is not necessary, but receiving consistent updates will help managers keep their employees on track, as well as help them identify and work through potential obstacles.

Managers should use update meetings to provide employees with constructive criticism and evaluate goal progress. During these meetings, managers also should take time to encourage and praise employees for their efforts. These meetings are helpful for forming stronger manager-employee relationships because of the constant exchange of feedback and shared desire to achieve great results.


Employees who consistently meet or exceed their goals should be rewarded because they are showing commitment to their work and their organization. Not offering rewards will result in employee frustration, which has the potential to decrease productivity and increase turnover.

If employees do not meet their marks, managers should schedule time to meet with them to discuss the reasons why they fell short. Employees have to take responsibility for their work. Managers can inform employees of their disappointment if goals were attainable. After acknowledging disappointment, managers should help employees rework their goals or brainstorm strategies to make them more achievable.

Please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 for additional tips on successful employee goal setting.

Photo Source: hanspoldoja, Miiish

9 Responses to “Goal Setting is Critical for Employee Engagement and Company Success”

  1. Liz Cosline says:

    Appreciate the thoughts. I like the mention of realistic goals. And being present. The manager must be engaged to have engaged employees. Really what is being talked about is the relationship.

    Have an amazing year.

  2. Persis says:

    Thanks for your comment, Liz! Yes, strong manager-employee relationships help keep workforces engaged and productive.

  3. Harry says:

    Great advice on goal setting.

    You may want to check out a new team-oriented goal management and employee productivity software at http://bizontrack.com.

  4. Persis says:

    Thanks for the positive comment, Harry! Careful goal setting helps the entire organization succeed.

  5. […] Managers help employees understand their roles and how their actions affect business results. With proper goal setting and consistent feedback, both positive and corrective, managers help employees understand what […]

  6. I could not agree more. I always look at other areas where people are delivering extraordinary performance. One area is sports but another one are the special forces.

    I once heard that during Navy Seals training recruits are trained to focus solely on their next immediate goal in front of them and not to worry about anything else. By doing this they are able to let their doubts about finalizing the famous “hell week” behind and increase the chance of passing the training.

  7. Persis says:

    Thanks for the comment! I appreciate you sharing the Navy Seal example. Setting goals can help you accomplish some really great things!

  8. […] Set goals—help employees stay motivated by giving them something to work towards […]

  9. Maniphone Phommavongsa says:

    If I want employees to be engaged from the time they are hired, what is my goal? I am a bit confused.

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