The merit of goal-setting has been part of the forefront of leaders in business, sports, manufacturing and virtually every other field. Motivation is the way you improve employee productivity, sales and more. Motivation through goal-setting is critical, although there is a wrong way to go about it, which can completely ruin your business’ internal strategies in the long run.

Here are 3 do’s and don’ts of employee goal setting for employee motivation:


1. Make the Goals Demanding but Reachable

The goals you set for your employees must be challenging, achievable and realistic. If you blindly set goals and just push your employees towards them, it will take much longer, if they do it at all, with much less ideal results.

There’s the tried-and-true method that most leaders adhere to, the SMART method:

  • Specific – Well defined and concise.
  • Measurable – Quantifiable data to measure what is being done to accomplish the goal.
  • Achievable – If the goal is attainable, it’s not impossible to achieve.
  • Relevant – Based on your resources and capabilities, the goal is not too outlandish and is within reach but within project scope.
  • Time-based – Clearly defined timeline for goals with starting and ending dates to accomplish by.

A SMART goal addresses almost all the problems that employers face when trying to improve employee motivation.


2. One Short, One Long

Motivation is key, and it gets much easier when employees can see the fruits of their labor. By planning short and long-term goals, employees can see their achievements more consistently. Start with long-term, and set short-term goals in between to help motivate them between the longer stretches. This helps build confidence, experience and more motivation to better address the long term goals.

3. Feedback

One of the most important aspects of employee motivation is having a transparent process to provide feedback. No matter what the metrics are, providing feedback moves projects and goals along through each step with fewer bumps in the road. Some employees may thrive on feedback more than others, so for those employees who aren’t as responsive, you may have to find innovative ways to provide feedback in a more meaningful way that will reach them.