How to Improve Employee Performance Through Smart Goal Setting at Workplace

Iryna Koshelieva
Iryna Koshelieva
Senior Growth Marketer, Ring.io
How to Improve Employee Performance Through Smart Goal Setting at Workplace

Managers have a lot of duties and responsibilities. But without motivated and goal-directed employees, any company will not be able to succeed. People are the primary resource, and we should remember their needs and wishes.

And how to make their wishes come true? What to do if they don’t even know exactly what they need? Let’s look at the instrument of goal setting which you can use at work.

Benefits of setting goals for employees

Every step will be correct and precise when you know exactly where you want to go. You want to achieve a goal, point B in your navigator. So, clarity is the first benefit you will have with setting goals.

No matter how you try to motivate subordinates with monetary rewards until they understand why they need to achieve specific goals, there will be no result.

Therefore, the correct setting of motivating goals increases employee engagement.

Moreover, it even affects the decision on whether to change the place of work. After all, 94% of the surveyed employees who applied for dismissal noted that they lacked opportunities for professional development and a clear vision of why they work. So, when you help your coworkers to set goals, you improve retention rates and promote their career development.

But not only employees will benefit from this. For example, 96% of business leaders agreed that aligning company and employee goals provide a competitive advantage and drive growth for both parties.

How are group and personal goals related?

The company you work for has its goals. Do you know them?

These goals determine the general course in which the organization moves. They should also be relevant for every employee; otherwise, sooner or later, he will leave the organization to find a system with which his goals coincide.

To avoid that, ensure employee goals are closely connected with organizational goals. Moreover, they should be small steps for each employee on the way to achieving a significant group goal.

For example, a company wants to increase the number of clients by 20%. If this organization has 20 sales managers, they should start selling 1% more.

How can they improve their performance?

This is where the setting of professional goals for each of the employees begins.

Performance or professional development goals: which to choose?

Okay, now every sales rep aims to sell 1% more. So you, as a manager, set this personal performance goal based on team performance goals.

Is it enough?

Imagine you have a team of professional sales reps who know their work perfectly. They are already making incredible sales figures, working at 100% capacity. But at one of the group meetings, you tell them they need to start selling 1% more.

What do you think they are going to do about it?

  • Some of them can decide to leave your company. Because they have already been working at total capacity for such a long time, they are tired and do not understand how to sell even more.
  • Some will try to work more quantitatively. That is, make more calls, meetings, and mailings. Will it work? Perhaps, but there is also a high risk that they will burn out, so when the company’s sales plan grows again, they may also quit.
  • Most won’t be motivated by new ideas and will continue to work at the same level.
  • And only a few of your employees will try to improve themselves through professional development and other qualitative changes in their professional activities.

To avoid this scenario and save your team, help each of the employees to set their personal growth goals. For this, it is necessary to clearly understand their individual needs so that these goals motivate them to act. After all, for most, money is far from the primary criterion for success. The possibility of self-realization and development is what each of us values.

What can these goals look like?

– take a 2-month advanced training course

– master the work in the new program in 10 days

– take public speaking training (20 days)

– practice one new communication skill every day

– devote 30 minutes a day to competitor research

– attend networking events every Friday to find new clients

Each of these goals can potentially improve the seller’s performance, leading to increased sales in the future. But for everyone, these goals will be personal, aimed at working out growth points and giving the inspiration to act.

To sum up, don’t stop only at setting performance goals for your employees. Go ahead and help them set their professional development goals to show specific ways each of them will move towards the realization of group goals.

Types of goal setting with examples

Everyone knows about the SMART goal system. But several other interesting options can be combined depending on your needs.

OKR setting goals

OKR system has three components: an objective, a time frame, and key results.

An objective is something you want to achieve. A time frame will give you an understanding of when you should see a result. And key results are how you will accomplish it. They will show the path you are going to move to your objective.

John Doerr, an American investor, and venture capitalist, highlighted the main advantages of this approach to goal setting and created a symbolic abbreviation F.A.C.T.S.:

  1. Focus: clear prioritization allows you to unite the team and direct activities in the same direction.
  2. Alignment: priorities of the company and individual workers, group and individual goals are agreed upon.
  3. Commitment: specific collective commitments and priorities are clear and voiced, followed by each group member.
  4. Tracking: key results are easy to track, so you can change tactics to achieve the final goal in time.
  5. Stretching: In achieving key results, everyone changes and develops, allowing us to achieve more and more ambitious goals each time.

A great example of OKR:

Objective: Increase overall sales team efficiency

Key result 1: Arrange CRM refresher training for 20 sales reps

Key result 2: Automate three administrative processes using a CRM tool or other technology

Key result 3: Increase the average time spent on selling activities across all reps by 10%

MBO goal setting

The full name of this method — management by objectives — gives an understanding of what you can use this approach for. It is an ideal strategy to decompose the organization’s goals and identify individual goals for each worker.

Our previous 20% increase in sales volume is an excellent example of MBO goal setting. You divide a team performance goal into equal parts between 20 sales reps and make personal performance goals for them.

In general, you may face two serious challenges using this method.

The first is when your subordinates do not fully understand how to achieve their goals. This can be solved with open communication and your active position in tracking team members’ successes and timely responding to their difficulties.

Second, when the goals are not sufficiently clear and justified. To avoid this, we recommend combining this method with the SMART method, which we will consider further.

SMART goals

Very briefly, but we have to mention this method of goal setting because it has proven its effectiveness more than once.

SMART stands for:

Specific – it answers questions: What problem must be solved? Who is responsible for it? What steps should be taken?

Example: to improve the onboarding process by developing a standard for training new employees by the head of the department.

Measurable means you can measure how successful you are in achieving this goal. How we can improve our example to make it measurable:

To shorten the process of adaptation of a new employee from 2 months to 1 by developing a standard for training by the head of the department.

Achievable – is it real to achieve this goal? If you saw that the concern of a very long onboarding process could be solved by its standardizing, then go ahead!

Relevant – is it important now to achieve this goal? What will it give you and your company?

The sooner new employees adapt, the sooner they produce results. So, it is relevant.

Time-bound – at what time should this goal be achieved? It must have a deadline. Otherwise, there is a risk that it will never be implemented.

So, our final SMART goal looks like this:

To shorten the process of adaptation of a new employee from 2 months to 1 by developing a standard for training by the head of the department within Q1 of 2023.

You’ve set goals. What’s next?

Setting goals is only the first step; if your employees put those goals aside and forget about them, you’ve wasted your time. So, it would be best if you made the following steps to ensure goals are working.

After the goal-setting process is finished, we monitor the team’s and its members’ success in achieving the intended goals.

What can you use for this?

  • CRM system – it’s easy to work and monitor the results of this work in one place. Almost every CRM has a wide range of options for tracking achievements.
  • Apps and extensions you are using in your daily work. For example, if your team uses Ring.io to make outbound or receive inbound calls, you can rely on our Live Monitor feature.

Firstly, choose the board you need: stats for the outbound view will be helpful for a sales team, and stats for the inbound view are created to monitor the quality of answering customer service.

Secondly, take a look at your team’s performance goals. What are they? Which metrics should you monitor to track work progress?

In the feature, you will find all the main metrics used for tracking and affecting the quality of service and the number of sales.

Call quantity

The program counts the number of incoming and outgoing calls the team processes or makes daily. Set a daily team goal and break it down among all team members. Then, you will see the Outbound call progress and Inbound calls received.

Call quality

The number of calls is not as important as its quality.

Live Monitor lets you see each call’s length in real-time and calculates how many outgoing calls lasted longer than a minute. In the end, you see the connect rate of the team.

Achieving a daily target

In addition to the app’s overall performance, you can customize your own command goals by setting out what completion of the call is desirable for your team and how many such successful calls should be made in a day.

For example, your goal is to appoint 50 meetings per day. You give a goal name, set up a daily number to hit, and can even set an acceptable range there. Find out how to do it in our tutorial below.

For client service, SLA is one of the key metrics. You can set the target answer time in seconds, and Live Monitor will track how many calls were accepted faster than the indicator.

TBA (Time Before Abandonment) is the back side of the coin and shows how long the callers can wait for your answer. Monitor it to reduce the number of unacceptable calls by some improvements if necessary (hire more operators, adjust scripts, conduct employees training)

Leaderboard to track progress

Another way you can see the success of every rep is a leaderboard. You can range your team members by the number of calls, specific qualitative indicators, or the number of target actions performed.

This is a convenient way to see who can be rewarded (if there is a motivation system) and who needs your help in improving work (setting goals, undergoing additional training, etc.).

To sum up, this is a cycle. You set goals, do something to achieve them, monitor your progress, analyze what is going right or wrong, and optimize the methods you use. After completing the goals, you set a new one.

The same system works for your coworkers. Don’t stop even for one day. Help them to set, monitor, and achieve their work goals with Ring.io!


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