It’s general knowledge that, as an employer, supporting employees to reach their goals is critical to your business. This is now more important than ever, even in the light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. After all, employees achieving goals and working hard affects the flow and bottom line of your business, so goal-setting is particularly essential as a mechanism for this. However, plans can be easily waylaid if not given the proper guidance, especially if your employees are working remotely. So, how actively engaged should you be in helping employees set and accomplish their goals? The crucial step is to be hands-on while giving your employees the space they need to succeed in their initiative. Here are some examples to follow as you navigate how to best assist your people in reaching their goals.
For goals to be meaningful and useful in driving employees forward, they must be tied to larger company goals. Employees who don’t understand the roles they play in the company’s progress are more likely to become disengaged. No matter what level the employee is at, they should be able to verbalise exactly how their work feeds into the broader company plan. Therefore, demonstrating a tangible result of their work if their goals are successful.
Set Attainable Goals
At the start, employees need to have a voice in establishing their goals, since they are ultimately responsible for reaching them. Ask your employee to draft goals that they believe directly contribute to the overall business plan. Once the suggested goals are established, discuss whether they are both realistic and attainable for the employee, flesh them out until you are both happy with the goals and their likability of success. Be careful, however, as your employees are likely to become disengaged if you insist on goals that are too challenging to accomplish. Try not to aim for easy goals either. Instead, focus on goals that create a lot of momentum and energy in your employees, and that will boost morale and productivity.
Design a Success Plan
Once goals are set, ask your employee to explain how they plan to meet these. Have them break goals down into tasks and set interim objectives, especially if it’s a substantial or long-term project. Ask your employee: what are the appropriate milestones? What are the possible risks, and how do they plan to manage them? Then problem-solve with them on how to go forward and achieve success.
Staying in the loop of your employee progress will help head off any problems early on. This is one of the most manageable parts of the process as managers and employees now utilise the benefits of virtual communications. Please don’t wait for review time or the outcome of a project to check in with them. Evaluate both long-term and short-term goals every week. Ask your employee what type of monitoring and feedback would be most valuable to them, particularly if the task is especially challenging.
Very few employees attain their goals without some road bumps along the way but try to build a rapport with employees so that they feel happy coming to you when problems arise. If your employee faces an unexpected obstacle, the goal may need reworking, however, ask them to bring a possible solution to you so you can give them advice. Though if their efforts to solve the problem fails, you will need to get further involved.
There will be times, even with the most reliable support, that employees fail to meet their goals. Talk with your employee about what happened and what each of you thinks went wrong. If the issue was within their control, ask them to try again to implement any solutions you’ve discussed. If it was beyond their control or the goal was too lofty, acknowledge the error but don’t dwell on it.