Goals are a critical component of long-term employee success. All of your team members have personal career goals. Some may be more specific than others, but most people have at general idea of where they want to be and what they hope to achieve. It is the responsibility of leaders to help those employees reach their long-term goals. The employee needs to drive their own, but leaders help to guide them and provide feedback and support along the way.

Employees should be clear as to how their goals align with company goals and vision. Goals help to give an employee focus, and when leaders work together with their team members to break large goals down into smaller, bite-sized portions, it helps them on their quest for long-term success. Goals also help employees to remain aware of what is expected of them and they leave little room for people to claim that expectations are ambiguous. Furthermore, the setting and achieving of goals will translate into success for the employee, the manager, and the organization as a whole.

The Monthly Meeting

As we know, monthly feedback meetings are essential to keep employees on track. They help to adjust derailing behaviors and they reinforce positive behaviors and successes. During these monthly meetings, there should be time allotted to revisit the goals set during the previous meeting and measure the employee’s progress toward achieving his or her documented goals.
If an employee has reached his or her goal for the month, move on

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and set another goal or set of goals. If she hasn’t reached her documented goals, it will be necessary to evaluate what went wrong: Was she not focusing enough time on tasks? Was she called in on another project? Did she not have enough support form leadership? Did she simply drop the ball or engage in behavior that was detrimental to her success? Try to pinpoint what went wrong by asking questions and being a coach and mentor and then develop a plan with the employee to get her back on the right track.

Following Up on Feedback

Follow-up to monthly meetings is important, especially if the meeting involved some negative feedback. However, managers must learn how to balance between follow-up and micromanagement. Employees don’t need a formal letter for each and every piece of feedback they receive. A simple email that restates what was discussed in the meeting is usually enough.

If the follow up process is too formalized, it can create a culture of mistrust—especially in smaller organizations. Over-formalizing the process says to an employee, “I don’t trust you to do the job that you’ve been hired to do.” If the employee did something to break trust, that is one thing, but average, everyday issues that lead to negative feedback don’t require formalized, signed letters and daily supervision.

If you’ve done your due diligence throughout the hiring process, then you’ve hired the right person to be on your bus. As a manager, you should guide and support your team, but you should be confident that they will do the job you gave them to do, and that they will meet the goals and tasks that you set forth together in your monthly meeting.

Revisiting goals on a monthly basis is critical to help employees achieve those goals. It is important, however, not to overcorrect and take a turn into micromanagement territory. Set goals with your team members and then give them the tools they need to succeed. If you’re doing your job well, and if you trust them to do their job well, everyone will benefit.