Employee Performance Goals



Employee performance goals are performance expectations related to his or her job tasks and responsibilities that are to be accomplished over the course of a business year.

Performance goals are accomplishments set for specific duties or tasks related to an employee’s job position. These goals should be aligned with the overall organizational goals and specific department goals. Setting individual performance goals that are aligned with upper level goals provides a network of goals for the organization. It ties the larger organizational and department goals to the smaller goals of each employee. This way the entire organization is working together to accomplish their strategic objectives.



Purpose of Employee Performance Goals

The purpose of creating employee performance goals is to:

  • promote planning throughout the organization
  • provide guidance and direction for employees
  • inform employees what is expected of them in their position
  • help ensure everyone is working towards the overall organization’s goals
  • help the employee understand the direction of the organization and what is important
  • enable employees to plan and organize their work and prioritize tasks
  • motivate and inspire employees
  • gauge employee performance
  • inform employees how they are performing
  • accurately compensate him or her based on performance



Benefits of Setting Performance Goals

By setting and completing performance goals, employees are better able to:

  • know what needs to be accomplished and what is expected of them
  • make their own decisions about how to spend their work time
  • take on additional responsibilities
  • monitor their own progress and see accomplishments
  • learn how to handle obstacles and setbacks
  • develop additional job knowledge and skills
  • support or advance the organization’s objectives, vision, mission, and strategies
  • plan and implement projects and initiatives for the organization
  • be more self-directed and autonomous
  • work without constant supervision



Effective Employee Performance Goals

To be effective, it is important that performance goals are:

  • written
  • clearly defined
  • specific
  • easy to measure
  • understandable
  • achievable
  • motivating
  • directly related to job responsibilities
  • connected and aligned to the organization’s goals and objectives




Writing Performance Goals as SMART Goals

Performance goals are most effective if they are written as SMART goals. SMART is an acronym which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.


Specific – The goal should be detailed and state the exact level of performance expected. Explain with enough detail so it can be clearly understood by all those involved in its completion.


Measurable – The goal should contain a measurable indicator to assess the amount of progress and to definitely determine if the goal has been accomplished (How much? How many? How well?)


Achievable – The goal should challenge and stretch the employee’s abilities, but realistically be able to be attained. Ensure the necessary resources are available to achieve the goal.


Relevant –The goal should align with and advance the organization’s vision, mission, and strategies. It should be directly related to the employee’s job responsibilities.


Time-bound –The goal should specify when the result(s) will be achieved. There should be a target date for completion.



Managing Employee Goals


Monitor Throughout Year

Although attention on performance goals typically happens at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year (annual evaluation process), goal setting is more successful when goals are monitored throughout the year. Therefore, employee and supervisors should periodically review and discuss the status of goals and make adjustments to remain on track toward completion.


Reward Employees

In order for the goal setting process to be effective, the organization needs to reward employees who achieve their goals. If there is no recognition or reward system, it will affect employee motivation going forward. They will be less inclined to reach or exceed their goals if they feel there is no benefit to them. However, by honoring employee’s efforts, it demonstrates that the organization values their commitment and hard work.



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