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Employee Performance Goals & Objectives

Employee performance goals

A goal is a milestone that pushes us to perform better and try new things. It is the desired result that gets us from point A to point B. The 2022 new year is right around the corner, which means goal setting is what everyone is considering as they bustle around the office. Most people think of goals as a personal matter, but setting goals should also be a part of your professional life. 


Setting goals with your employees make performance reviews more involved. They benefit your employees in their professional and personal lives. Your team will be proud of their work when they set their own goals because, even if they don’t achieve them, they at least make progress toward a more unified team. 

Don’t you want that for your business? If so, keep reading to learn how to set goals with your team that show results.

Looking for a business transformation? B STATE has services for leadership, department, and project teams. Learn more here

SMART Performance Goals

To set your team up for success, you must learn how to set SMART goals. Setting goals is more than writing a random milestone on a piece of paper and hoping it comes true. Unfortunately, most people set goals that are vague, unrelated, and with no deadline. You can fix this by setting SMART goals instead. 

SMART refers to the following:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Ambitious
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

For example, say you set a goal for your employee to “improve in emotional intelligence.” That’s great, but he won’t do it. The goal is too vague, there’s no deadline, and it’s not personal. 

Instead, your employee can “attend three meditation classes by June 1, 2022”. This goal is specific and relevant because it shows how the employee is going to practice emotional intelligence. The goal is measurable because there are a certain number of classes to take. It’s also ambitious because it’s unique (especially if your employee has never tried meditation). Lastly, it has a deadline. 

This goal can usher in success. 

Now that we understand what attributes a goal needs, let’s look at a few examples of performance goals you can set with your team.

RELATED: 5 Best Examples Of High Performing Teams

10 Employee Performance Goals (with examples)

Use these performance goals examples to help your employees reach their full potential. These are the top 10 that you will want to focus on for your organization. 

Self-management goals

Self-management skills allow employees to improve their workplace performance, maximize productivity, and achieve those professional goals. By enhancing these self-management skills, you can help your team manage their day-to-day activities and give them a better chance for long-term success. 

Self-management is the ability to control our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. We can all improve in this area in some way.

If you have strong self-management skills, you can set goals for yourself and take the initiative to achieve them. Self-management is vital in helping direct the path of your employees’ careers. In addition to that, it ensures that they seek opportunities that can get them closer to those goals. 

Some sample goals for employees include:

Have your team member dedicate time each day to a specific task for the next 30, 60, or 90 days and record the results. You could also have her create a list of priorities to be accomplished by a specific date if time blocking doesn’t work.  

Emotional intelligence goals

You have probably heard of the phrase “cool, calm, and collected.” When working, everyone needs to follow that saying and keep their emotions in check. Yes, there can be frustrating and challenging days. Everyone has them. Work can be difficult, especially in industries dealing with customers. However, you never want to show your emotions on the outside

Team members that scream or cause a disruption can create a toxic work environment. That can affect all of your employees, making everyone less productive. With emotional intelligence skills, employees can better grasp how to handle a situation in the workplace appropriately. 

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage our emotions. This can be tricky when we deal with difficult clients, or when two team members don’t get along. 

Consider performance goals examples, such as:

You could have your employees practice scenarios when dealing with difficult clients, or you could take work out of the equation and try attending the three meditation classes as previously stated.

Creativity goals

In the workforce, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution; you need creative people to think outside the box. Creativity can help come up with ideas to design new products. It can also help to resolve a problem. Unfortunately, not many companies put creativity first in the business. Often, too many employees want to show up, get paid, and not put too much effort into their work. It is up to you to develop creativity goals for your employees. 

A creative team is an innovative team. You can help your employees tap into their creative side by helping them set creative goals that benefit the business, and them personally. 

Use these examples for your team:

Try giving your employees creative freedom each day, or each week, by setting aside some time to work on their creative projects. You may find that some of your employees are artists or writers and can help in areas of the company you wouldn’t have known before.

Soft-skill goals

Soft skills are also called core skills or common skills. You can apply these skills to any profession or industry. Often, these skills are not taught in school. You have to develop them throughout your life. Soft skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, professional writing, leadership, public speaking, and a strong work ethic. Helping your employees cultivate these skills can lead to a happier workplace and more engaged team members

Soft skills are people skills. For example, the ability to casually converse over the phone with a client about a specific product. 

Encourage soft skill development with these exercises:

A soft-skill goal example could be for your employee to practice phone etiquette by working with the reception team, or learning how to use the phone. 

Professional development goals

Setting professional development goals can increase your employees’ skills and help them fulfill their roles. These goals can include day-to-day improvements to long-term plans. When you understand what your employees want to achieve in their future, you can start to guide them on that journey. Many workers become frustrated or disengaged when their days become stagnant. The key to a happy workforce is challenging your team with new goals and providing learning opportunities. 

Professional development is continued education and is important in keeping our skills sharp in a specific industry.

Use these sample goals for your employees:

Have your employee set a goal of attending three different seminars by June 1st, or possibly attend a journal club reviewing clinical studies in the industry. 

People management goals

People management is vital to improving workplace communication and preparing others for success. You can use these skills in various settings, such as motivating employees to optimize their productivity or promoting professional growth. In a team, there are tons of different personalities with different views. With that, there can be conflicts among team members. Effective people management can mediate those conflicts, leading to more respect and collaboration. Leaders in the workplace use these people management skills to boost employee performance and oversee the daily workflow. But don’t think that these skills are for one group of employees in your company. 

People management is important regardless of whether you have a leadership role or not. Your team must know how to manage and motivate themselves and others. 

Help build those people skills by:

Setting a goal for your team member to memorize the company values, or practice listening skills by conversing with other colleagues.

Negotiation goals

Negotiation creates a dialogue between two or more parties. When you have employees with solid negotiation skills, they can help resolve conflicts in the workplace. Many consider negotiation to fall under the soft skill category, but it is so crucial that it needs its own category. Negotiation utilizes persuasion, planning, communication, and cooperation skills. As your employees build up those skills, you can strengthen them to handle other tasks. Negotiation can be valuable when it is time to set a project timeline or contract terms. 

Negotiation is the practice of finding common ground on a specific issue through discussion. In other words, it’s an act of compromise.

Add this example to strengthen your employees’ skills:

Your employee can set a goal to attend negotiation seminars and stay up-to-date on the latest practices or read two books on the art of negotiation by a specific date. 

RELATED: 4 Best Books On Accountability: Individual & Organizational

Decision-making goals

Strong leaders and employees will have solid decision-making skills. You make decisions based on all of the valuable information while examining the finer points of the two choices. When you use sample goals for your employees, you are also helping your organization. Decision-making makes the team members have the ability to think objectively. Making the right and quick decisions can help bond your team while strengthening your company. Throughout the day, there are plenty of decisions to be made. Some decisions are time-sensitive, and you lose out on opportunities if there is a delay. You want to equip your team with the skills to make the right and best decision for the company. 

Decision-making is what it is at face value. It’s making decisions, easy and difficult, quick or with time. 

Use these examples to build on those decision-making skills:

Have your employee make a plan to make a decision by a specific date, then discuss why that employee made that decision. You could also try something abstract, like having your employee gain a new perspective on an issue he or she didn’t know about previously. 


Since the early days of school, we have been taught to work together. As we get older, those skills still need to be strengthened. It can be challenging to work with others in some situations, especially on a big project. Everyone has their own ideas and visions for the job. Collaboration helps everyone come together with fantastic results. These skills can often go by the wayside. That can happen when employees need to work independently or don’t have strong leaders guiding them. Collaboration helps make the workplace more harmonious. 

Collaboration is essential. We all must work with different people with different perspectives, and sometimes we don’t always see eye to eye.

Think about these performance goals examples:

Assign a project to two or more employees and have them collaborate. Give the project a deadline and assign roles. Make sure it’s a project that your team wouldn’t normally work together on.


Today, we have more methods than ever to communicate with each other. Unfortunately, many people don’t have the right communication skills to convey information to others. In the workplace, communication is essential to gathering information, leading to the success of a project or the whole company. Plus, a lack of communication can lead to frustration surrounding a specific project, uncooperative team members, and other problems in the workforce. By not communicating, it can also affect the work production of others. For example, a lack of communication can make team members miss deadlines or add the wrong piece of data to a project. All of your team members should be able to communicate their ideas. 

Communication is simply the exchange of information, but so often we fall short of this one. We forget to send emails or don’t explain something in detail like we should. But communication isn’t always verbal. It can be virtual, like through social media. 

Look at these communication goals:

A goal for your employee could be to learn the newest technologies in communication, like 3 new social media apps. You could also start simple and have your employee commit 30 minutes to email each day. 

RELATED: 5 Workplace Miscommunication Examples (& How To Avoid Them)

How to Review Your Performance Goals

Once you have set these performance goals for your employees, you must review their progress. The review determines how well they have done – 

  • That they achieved the goals
  • That they failed to reach their goals
  • Whether they’re on target to achieve success
  • Whether they’re on the wrong path    

Here are a few ways to review employee performance goals:

Results-Based Review

Some of the goals you set are simple ‘end goals.’ This means the review is straightforward – either they achieved it or didn’t. But if you have set more than one end goal, you can review each and consider them as a whole. You may ask,

  • How many of the goals were achieved?
  • In which areas?
  • Is there a correlation between the areas of success and failure?
  • How is the overall progress going?

Review Based on Milestones and Timelines

Some goals are best tracked by reviewing the milestones achieved (or not achieved). Bigger goals can be created as a series of smaller steps. This makes them measurable and more motivating as your employees reach these milestones.  

Once They’ve Reached Their Goals, What’s Next?

You have reviewed the goals set for your employees and realize they have been successful – now what? Of course, you congratulate them and reward their achievement, but there is still more work to do. Here are some ways to keep them progressing:

Keep Going Higher

With a clearer understanding of what they can achieve, you may set more challenging goals. Of course, remember that you don’t want to turn work into a series of impossible goals that drain your employees’ morale and motivation. But you also want their next employee goals to be worthy of their capabilities. 

Improve the Quality of Their Work

If your employees can achieve the first round of goals set for them, you can set new goals for the quality of their outputs. For instance, if they can consistently meet certain work deadlines, they can now up the quality of the work they’re turning in.

Set New Goals

 Once they reach their goals, you can sit with them and create a new set of goals. This initial process may indicate to them (and you) that either their goals were too small or they need to consider aiming in a different direction. Let the process of setting new goals be thoughtful and carefully considered. 

What to Do if They Don’t Reach Their Goals

Even a skilled and motivated employee can be unsuccessful at reaching their goals. Here are some things you can do: 

  • Consider the reasons for their failure. Were there impediments beyond your employees’ control? Or did they not put in sufficient work, planning, or discipline?
  • If there’s still time to achieve a win, try to encourage and motivate the employee to buckle down and do the work. If you are negative and critical, it will be difficult for them to keep a positive attitude.  
  • Adjust the goal. The original goal may have been too big or challenging. Consider extending the deadline or making the goal more achievable. 
  • If there’s still time to achieve the goal, consider a brainstorming session around solving the hindering issues.   

Final Thoughts

Goals are not just for our personal lives. Goals are achievements we should celebrate with our colleagues as well. They encourage us to be better and help us step out of our comfort zones. 

Even when we don’t reach our goals, we are often surprised by the astonishing results a little effort can bring. Ask your team how their goals are coming along. Be excited about them! Show interest in their development. As you sit down with your team to discuss the 2022 new year, remember to be SMART about the goals you set.

At B STATE, we adapt to the ever-changing demands of the market. Book a call with us so we can discuss the best strategies for your business.

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