How to Set Effective Goals for Your Team, Both in Hiring and Performance

Published: February 12, 2015 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Manager's Corner

Effective goal setting is an important skill for any manager. Both research studies and practical experience show that setting goals is fundamental to long-term success—because the more clearly you can define where you’re going, the easier it is to get there.

When you’re managing a team, you must be able to set effective goals for both hiring and performance. Hiring goals will ensure that you have the team you need for success, and performance goals ensure that your team consistently meets the right targets to realize both short-term and long-term strategies.

Here are some tips and guidelines to help you set effective and achievable goals that you and your team will be able to meet.

How to set effective hiring goals

Regardless of your employee needs, your hiring goals should be focused on making sure you have the right amount of staff, with the right balance of skills, and the best fit for your corporate culture. But setting vague or overly ambitious hiring goals will only ensure that you miss those targets. Some simple guidelines for setting hiring goals include:

  • Be realistic - Make sure the goals you set are actually achievable. It might be great if you could hire five new full-time team members—but do you have the budget for that? Find the right targets that balance your hiring budget with your skills needs. You may be better off hiring fewer new employees at higher salaries in order to attract better quality talent.
  • Be specific - Instead of saying that you’ll hire a few new employees sometime this year, decide that you’ll have two new hires in the onboarding process by the end of this quarter. Then, arrange your goals in a way that can make it happen.
  • Consult with your team - Your existing employees can be valuable resources for new hires, and may be able to refer great people — which cuts down on hiring time. Your employees can also help you shape your hiring goals by offering their input on what the team really needs with regard to new hires.
  • Track your project - Any type of effective goal setting will include measurable benchmarks for projects. Break down your hiring process and find out where you can place smaller goalposts that will lead you toward a larger overall objective.

How to set effective performance goals

There are many advantages to setting performance goals for your team. Effective performance goals provide a clear direction for both employees and managers, clarify specific expectations, create a common frame of reference for effective communication, serve as clear indicators of success, and encourage a greater sense of fulfillment when the defined goals are met.

When setting performance goals for your team, it’s important to make sure that each goal can be reached. Just as with hiring goals, creating vague objectives or defining overly ambitious outcomes are recipes for failure—and giving your team unreachable goals can cripple workplace morale and employee satisfaction.

Strive for “SMARTER” goal-setting strategies by developing goals that are:

  • Specific - Rather than asking your team to “make more money,” set a goal to increase revenues through specific targets (more sales leads, faster time-to-market) by a certain percentage, in a certain period of time.
  • Measurable - Create goals with mechanisms for tracking progress in a tangible and demonstrable way, through numbers, benchmarks, or other relevant analytics.
  • Achievable - Make sure your team has access to the tools and resources they need to actually reach the goals.
  • Relevant - Tie your team’s performance goals to overall company objectives, strategies, or upcoming initiatives.
  • Timely - Develop realistic schedules for reaching performance goals, with incremental time-period checkpoints along the way when possible.
  • Extending capabilities - The best performance goals will allow team members to know more than they did at the start of the activity—look for goals that increase knowledge, skills, or personal satisfaction.
  • Rewarding - Performance goals are more effective when your team members derive a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment by reaching them.

The ability to set effective, sustainable, and achievable goals is crucial for the success of your team. Consider implementing these strategies to help you develop a more efficient and high-performing workplace environment, and drive success for your department or company as a whole.

Clearpoint emphasizes long-term relationships in its approach to staffing and placement. Check out our creative staffing services presents a number of options for candidates looking for employment in a variety of fields.

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