Setting goals for employees is, at best, tense. You’re helping them define their path and giving them a yardstick to measure personal growth. You’re also laying out the performance objectives that they’ll be reviewed on — adding a certain amount of pressure to get there.
The good news: You can increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover by helping employees make strides toward their career goals. In fact, “achieve my career goals” is the #6 goal reported by the Limeade Insights Team. Clearly the time is ripe for fresh strategies to keep people engaged — and on the payroll.
Why Goal Setting Is Critical for Managers to Join
When employees don’t feel supported in their goals — or don’t see opportunities for advancement within their company — they become disengaged. They’re less productive, more likely to miss work, and — as noted above — they eventually leave for a better gig. All of this has a ripple effect on the bottom line.
We’ve got five strategies that’ll help employees achieve career goals.
5 strategies to help employees achieve their goals
1. Regularly discuss performance objectives
Too often, career goals are only covered during performance reviews. But people’s experiences, ideas and lives are changing all the time. Ask managers to meet 1:1 with their team members at least every other week — and make sure a “temperature check” is part of these discussions. How are they feeling about their job? The work they’re doing? What else interests them? These conversations allow managers to proactively nip problems in the bud and quickly identify growth opportunities.
2. Include a way to measure personal growth
Most of us know about the importance of setting specific, measurable career goals, monitoring progress, offering training and educational opportunities, etc. But here’s a novel concept: investing in your employees’ dreams. Understanding the bigger picture of what people want from life — and how to factor that into their career development — may seem like dropping the focus from company goals. But Matthew Kelly, author of “The Dream Manager” says, “When you help people accomplish their dreams, they will do just about anything for you.”
3. Offer opportunities for employee development
Some employees are interested in a leadership position. Others would like to explore another function, or have expertise that can be useful in a different capacity. Enter stretch assignments, which allow people to go outside their career comfort zone. These are a great way for employees to learn new skills and grow quickly while filling a need for the company.
4. Support employees who want to pursue new roles in the company
Make it easy for employees to learn about — and apply for — other opportunities within the company. If people feel their career development is a priority and that an internal job search needn’t be “hush-hush,” they’re more likely to look inside than outside. If you haven’t already, create an internal job search site and communicate it through your intranet, posters and newsletters.
5. Offer career coaching to help employees achieve their goals
You probably offer coaching to help employees with health goals — why not do the same for their careers? You can do this through a mentoring program, or more formally by offering discounted sessions with a certified career coach. The important thing is that employees understand the company supports them in achieving their goals.
Setting goals for employees is only one part of good management