Examples of Goals for Work

The examples of goals for work for employee performance and development purposes in the succeeding sections follow the SMART goals guidelines. As a reminder, SMART is the acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. These are the attributes that each goal should contain. It takes practice because the general tendency has been to write vague statements for employee performance review purposes because they take less thought and require less commitment. SMART goals are precise as to what employees at any level should strive to accomplish.  

Writing Goals for Work 

SMART goals apply to employees or leadership, so obviously, the specific goals will be geared towards the individual's role and level in your organization. Though development goals are usually broader than performance goals because they include striving for responsibility and positions outside the current job, they should still be SMART.  

A helpful guide to begin writing SMART goals is to fill in the blanks of the following template for each goal. 

Take this action___________________________________

How?________________________________   

Within what timeframe?________________________________   

With what outcome?_____________ 

One of the many advantages of writing SMART goals is that it also makes it easier to identify how employees are accomplishing their work and how they will pursue goals since this is a collaborative process between the employee and supervisor. Following are some examples of goals for work divided into two major categories: performance goals and development goals.   

Examples of Performance Goals for Employees 

Performance goals are short-term goals aligned with specific job duties that you want an employee to achieve within a designated timeframe. Common mistakes that managers make are writing generic goals that are not specific and have no definitive time stated for completion. Another mistake is writing one or more goals that are not achievable. The goals are not motivating because they have no value.

Performance goals can include current responsibilities and new assignments, projects, and priorities, but they must always remain specific to the job. Ultimately, these goals are intended to incentivize employees to perform their best work.

SMART goals

Goals Designed to Improve Job Performance 

  1. Launch a mobile app for the company website by the end of March 2021 to improve the customer experience. Achieve 35,000 mobile app installs and a 3 percent conversion rate by the end of 2022. Work with software development and marketing to reach goals. 
  2. Develop an approved company policy on social media use by employees by April 30, 2021. Meeting the goal includes writing the policy, having it reviewed by the company labor attorney, and getting the CEO's final approval for publishing.  
  3. Develop one or more strategies to increase the average number of customer calls handled by department employees to 25 per hour by December 31, 2021.  
  4. Earn UnionProof Certification by completing all six units, four lessons each for a total of 24 lessons, available online by September 30, 2021.
  5. Increase recruitment of diverse job candidates by 25 percent by the next performance review. This includes developing a specific recruitment plan to expand outreach to people of different races, ethnicities, genders, disabilities, and other recognized categories.  
  6. Increase the department's employee engagement level from 50 percent to 75 percent by the end of the year. Develop a plan that includes the use of tools like text nudges, pulse surveys, longer surveys with a series of questions, Employee Net Promoter Scores, and other options to benchmark progress. Engagement metrics will measure employee satisfaction and alignment with organizational goals.
  7. Reduce the department's employee turnover rate from 20 percent to 10 percent by December 31, 2021. Identify the specific reasons for turnover through exit interviews and develop a plan to address the reasons. 
  8. Research employee recognition systems and make a recommendation to Human Resources by December 31, 2021. The recommendation should be supported by an analysis of at least three vendor recognition systems and an in-house development option. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of each option. Compare the cost of purchasing each system to the cost of in-house development.
  9. Decrease the defective rate of product XXX by 20 percent through product quality improvements by the end of the year. 
  10. Complete the company's upskilling training courses for employees within two months by completing two tutorials each week to become fully proficient in the navigation of the new customer management system technology.  

Performance goals are short-term goals aligned with specific job duties that you want an employee to achieve within a designated timeframe, while a development goal focuses on an employee's learning and skills development. #SMARTgoals #workgoals

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Examples of Professional Development Goals for Employees 

A development goal focuses on an employee's learning and skills development, often for career development and advancement. They revolve around progressing professionally in the job or career by improving capabilities and competencies. Professional development goals are usually, but not necessarily, longer-term goals than performance goals.  

Following are ten examples of goals for work that focus on professional development as an employee or as a manager or supervisor.  

  1. Complete the company's Leadership Training modules X-XX on "Best Practices for Employee Engagement" by June 30, 2021, to strengthen current leadership skills.
  2. Complete parts one and two of the Laborwise Leadership eLearning interactive training courses by August 31, 2021. Demonstrate learning by completing interactive quizzes at the end of each session.
  3. Mentor/coach another employee, dedicating one hour per week. Document the goals and objectives, activities, and outcomes. 
  4. Volunteer for a team project within two months in a different department to improve collaborative skills and expand knowledge of company operations on a broader basis. Track the experience in terms of new knowledge and skills gained.
  5. Seek employee feedback on a weekly basis and discuss the feedback each week in a one-on-one meeting with your manager. Identify personal weaknesses and areas needing improvement. Attend a training session on giving and receiving actionable feedback.
  6. Attend three professional development and networking conferences or workshops within a 12-month time period. At the end of each year, identify new development opportunities for the next 12-month period.
  7. Consult with your supervisor to identify a department challenge in need of a solution. Work on finding a solution by using critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Document the challenge and the steps taken towards finding a solution for supervisor review. 
  8. Working with your manager, map your career ambitions, and develop a career progression plan that includes steps for developing leadership.
  9. Skills, increasing knowledge of the organization's operations across departments, and taking other designated steps. Identify benchmarks and progress assessment schedule.
  10. Assume a new stretch job responsibility that develops new higher-level leadership skills, like project management or proposal writing. Maintain a performance log and review with your manager once a week.

Identify a personal area needing improvement, i.e., active listening, asking for and giving feedback, building relationships, managing meetings, etc. Complete a pre-assessment. In collaboration with your manager, develop a plan to achieve improvement. The plan can include activities like online training, attending workshops, reading management articles, etc. Use periodic assessments to measure progress.   

SMART work goals

Supporting SMART Goals 

The examples of goals for work for performance and professional development goals are just a sample of the way to write goals. You and your employees will collaboratively develop goals that are right for your organization.  

There are some key organizational characteristics that best support the goal setting and assessment process and promote achieving the desired results. 

  • Promote an organizational culture of learning and coaching 
  • Ensure current leadership from the top down strongly supports employee efforts to meet goals. 
  • Provide the necessary resources, like eLearning courses, for success 
  • Give employees recognition for working towards and meeting goals. 
  • Regularly assess the goals to keep them realistic and achievable and to ensure they meet the needs of the organization's changing goals. 

With SMART goals, the employee performance review can be made more relevant, more meaningful to the employee, and more motivating. You can make SMART goals even SMART-ER, though, by adding a couple of more steps. 

To best support employee goal setting, promote an organizational culture of learning and coaching, provide the necessary resources, and give employees recognition for working towards and reaching goals, even small ones! #SMARTgoals #L&D #learningculture

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Projections has the knowledge, expertise, and resources you need to develop a strong performance review process from beginning to end that strengthens employee engagement. Setting goals and conducting performance reviews should not be something employees dread. Rather it's a chance to make sure your team members are heard and valued, and in the process, your organization becomes more adaptable and able to thrive in the future. 

About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

In over 25 years of helping companies connect with their employees, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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