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    3 Step-By-Step Recipes for Creating Successful Employee Objectives

    Employee objectives are just like the perfect cooking recipe—they break down bigger objectives into bite-sized instructions for employees to follow. Imagine that you’re hosting a fancy dinner party. The chocolate soufflé must be perfect so you dig up your best recipe, follow it to a T... and voila! A dessert to die for.

    Without these structured step-by-step instructions, your team members are likely to produce less than appetizing results. Below, we’re sharing the how-to's for the most common types of employee objectives, equipping managers to help their team members whip up the perfect deliverables in no time.

    Recipe #1: Employee Performance Objectives

    Performance goals are the bread and butter of employee motivation; they ensure that your team members stay laser focused on their targets. Performance objectives often emphasize ongoing improvements, such as beating last month’s sales numbers, fixing underperformance, or promoting more efficient practices.

    Cooking Time: 1- 3 Months


    • Equal investment from manager and employee
    • Past employee performance data
    • Clear KPIs


    Step 1: Get employees invested in the process instead of just passing down new goals from the C-suite. What would they like to accomplish? What would motivate them to succeed? Where do they think that they could improve, based on past performance or future goals?

    Step 2: Check that the agreed upon milestones are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART).

    Step 3: Determine how to measure results, whether it is using software to track average customer call times or on an Excel sheet.

    Step 4: Break up goals into smaller tasks. For example, employees could develop scripts to address the most common customer issues and resolve problems faster, yielding higher overall results in the end.

    Recipe #2: Employee Development Objectives

    87% of Millennials claim that professional development or career growth opportunities are a crucial element of their workplace satisfaction, reports ClearCompany. It’s not just Millennials—team members of all ages can become disengaged without opportunities for improvement and career advancement. That’s where professional development objectives come into play.

    Cooking Time: 30 Days


    • An assessment of individual strengths and weaknesses
    • Suggestions for improvement


    Step 1: Draw a Venn diagram. In the left circle, have the employee jot down areas where they would like to improve, such as developing better public speaking or team management skills.

    Step 2: In the right circle, the manager should write recommendations for improvement based on the skills valued by your organization, the employee’s career path, and observations.

    Step 3: In the middle section, note the things that overlap between the two circles. The key to personal development goals' success is finding common ground between organizational needs and personal preferences, so employees work towards a valuable skill that they are also passionate about.

    Step 4: Choose one of these common ground skills to focus on, and transform it into an objective that fits the SMART criteria.

    Looking for more engagement-building tips? Our Rules of the Employee Engagement Club will get you started.

    Recipe #3: Job Essence Objectives

    Like chefs in a kitchen, every employee has a specific role to accomplish. Setting job essence goals can help employees understand the expectations of their managers, better perform in their roles, and contribute to the company’s mission.

    Cooking Time: 6-12 Months


    • Employee job description
    • Company mission statement
    • Organizational or team priorities


    Step 1: Picture what it would look like if the employee perfectly fulfilled his role. What kind of results would they produce? Which job duties would they focus on? How would their actions help the team and/or company succeed? Use these questions and the existing job description to set realistic expectations.

    Step 2: Choose the most important job duties and projects to focus on. For instance, a marketing manager may choose to focus on maintaining a 5% visitor conversion rate for the company's website.

    Step 3: Determine how both management and the employee will track results and rewards (e.g., promotion or increased commission).

    Step 4: Assess long-term performance and use the data to guide the employee’s semi-annual or annual performance review.

    Setting objectives is just one way to help your new hires become more productive. Download our free Onboarding Whitepaper for more tips and tactics! 

    Topics: HR
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