Journal logo

What You’re Getting Wrong with Employee Goal Management

And How You Can Fix It

By AcornPublished about a month ago 3 min read

This article first appeared on Acorn Labs in May 2024.

For a more in-depth look at employee goal management, have a read of the full article.

Employee goal management is the strategic process of setting, tracking, and managing individual and team goals within an organization. It’s a comprehensive approach to improving business performance and success by aligning goals with business objectives.

Why employee goal management matters

Too many people set goals without a plan for how to manage them, and thus, their goals go unrealized.

Employee goal management is the only way you can ensure employees and teams set goals with meaningful outcomes. When achievable goals are set:

  • Performance and productivity increase
  • Everyone works towards the same priorities and organizational objectives are met
  • Talent development and employee retention improve
  • Decision-making and resource allocation are enhanced
  • Employee engagement and motivation increase.

How to implement effective employee goal management

According to Bersin by Deloitte, there are three principles to creating effective employee goal management:

  1. Creating goal clarity
  2. Using continuous feedback to ensure goals remain clear and understood
  3. Making goals matter to employees

Their research found that organizations with easy goal-setting processes were more likely to perform in the top 25% of business outcomes. They suggest seven practices for making the three principles of employee goal management work:

  1. Simplify goals
  2. Clarify the goal-setting process
  3. Increase employees’ goal-setting capabilities
  4. Communicate goals clearly
  5. Review goals frequently
  6. Connect goal-setting to career planning
  7. Enable senior leaders to drive accountability.

Creating goal clarity

The best way to create clear and specific goals is with SMART goals. These are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. The specific part describes the outcome you want to see (such as reducing the time it takes to respond to customer tickets by 50%) so that everyone has an understanding of the goal’s measurable indicators.

This is where capabilities come in. Capabilities are derived directly from business strategy, meaning they come with ready-made performance indicators (competence). This ensures goals are relevant to the employee’s role and the business mission, values, and strategy so that everyone is working towards the same thing.

Just remember not to bog employees in hundreds of goals at once. SMART goals make understanding and tracking goals easier, but become moot if employees can’t focus. Limiting the number of goals:

  1. Increases employees’ ability to prioritize the goal and work required to achieve it
  2. Clarifies and simplifies goal-setting so that communication and messaging are faster and more effective.

Providing continuous feedback

The “measurable” and “achievable” aspects of SMART goals come into play here, providing guidelines on how to get from point A (where you are now) to point B (the end goal). Without that, employees may be overwhelmed by the size of the task, or don’t feel like they’re making progress, which destroys their motivation to continue.

Ongoing communication is the only way you can fix this. A huge aspect of failing performance management is irregular feedback, usually in the form of annual reviews. These reviews often lack transparency and are open to bias, undermining performance management even more. To make sure goals are on track:

  1. Track progress during the performance period instead of at the end
  2. Have regular check-ins to give constructive feedback and discuss goal progress and support options
  3. Recognize and reward achievements to encourage employees and let them know if they’re on the right track.

Making goals matter to employees

Employees need motivating goals or they won’t care enough to achieve them, with 80% of Gen Z workers saying they want roles that allow them to develop. So, goals need to align with employees’ aspirations and development needs as well as the business’s overarching objectives.

Have employees help create their own goals so that they’re more invested in completing them and more likely to develop strategies to attain those goals. You should also consider the other talent or capability-based initiatives that goal-setting can support, like succession planning and engaging high-potential employees.

Leveraging technology

Manually recording performance management goal-setting prevents businesses from being truly strategic. Utilizing technology like a performance learning management system (PLMS) helps businesses record, manage, and track progress in one central location. A workflow builder like Momentum can also make goal management easier by automating goal setting and review management. When technology streamlines goal management, there is more time for employees, managers, and HR to focus on more important tasks.


About the Creator


Impact, not overload™

Acorn PLMS (performance learning management system) is a dynamic AI-powered platform for learning experiences synchronized to business performance at every step. Corporate learning is broken. Acorn is the antidote.

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For Free

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

    AcornWritten by Acorn

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.