Among its many duties, goal setting is probably a human resources department’s most important responsibility. Goal setting is the process of establishing objectives, guidelines, and ways that can help your employees understand the individual, team, and company-wide business goals. Goal setting has to be specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound. Effective goal setting boosts employee engagement and empowers HR and team leaders to effectively evaluate team members, increasing the likelihood that an employee will thrive and contribute to an organization’s long term success.

Below are six proven strategies for HR leaders to consider when defining goals for their team members, complete with some quick tips on how goal setting works on the Bob platform.

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1. Get employee feedback

To increase employee motivation, setting goals shouldn’t be a top-down process. An HR department that collaborates with its people in establishing benchmarks can more easily help them to connect their work to wider organizational goals. According to Quint Studer, author of Straight A Leadership: Alignment Action Accountability, “When employees are involved in crafting organizational goals, they’re far more likely to understand them, buy into them and work toward them.”

How it works in Bob

Goals in Bob follow this insight and make it easy for employees to create their own goals. Our Log and comments feature provide accountability (who did what) and a place for some discussion around the goal and its progress.

2. Set deadlines

Goals that an HR department sets should be based on a realistic time frame for completion. Otherwise, any sense of urgency that an employee has for reaching stated goals will be lost. Instilling deadlines catalyzes team members and managers to work towards reaching goals together, which tends to boost motivation and increase overall company morale. When setting deadlines, it’s important to try and strike a healthy balance between establishing a sense of urgency on the one hand and demotivating workers if they miss their deadlines on the other.

How it works in Bob

In Bob we provide time frames for all goals. They are not treated as tasks with overdue status. Rather, they allow filtering that shows how personal and organizational goals evolve together over time.

3. Connect individual goals to your company’s growth strategy

When employees understand how their individual responsibilities contribute to organizational growth, they’re often more focused and motivated to achieve goals that result in success for both the company and themselves. To keep your people engaged, your HR team should consider frequently communicating strategic business goals to your employees. One study found that linking organizational goals to individual objectives causes employees to accept greater responsibility, since they “grasp the direct impact of their performance.”

How it works in Bob

Here at HiBob, we’ve implemented a lightweight version of objectives and key results (OKRs) to try to set ambitious goals, track progress, and align personal development with organizational vision.

4. Recognize wins

Recognizing the people who reach or exceed the goals that have been set shows other employees that this kind of effort is valued by your organization. And providing bonuses, gift certificates or a public acknowledgment of an individual’s accomplishment will further incentivize colleagues. On the other hand, when a team member’s talent and dedication go unnoticed, other workers at your organization are likely to feel that there’s no point to working hard. Even worse, they may start looking for a new job at a company that puts a premium on recognizing outstanding effort and accomplishment.

How it works in Bob

Recognition can be shared in a variety of engaging ways in Bob including Shoutouts on the dashboard, promotion announcements with emoji and GIF comment reactions, and employee timeline views. All Kudos can be seamlessly integrated into Slack channels for more exposure and options for feedback.

5. Make goals measurable

To ensure that the goals that are defined for your workers are taken seriously,  there should be an objective way to prove when an individual benchmark has been reached. A measurable goal is one that’s connected to a metric that clearly indicates once a target has been met. Meanwhile, relying on a manager’s gut feeling about a team member’s productivity can open up the goal setting and review process to charges of unconscious bias. Indeed, a vast body of research shows that we’re prone to favoring someone who’s similar to us.

How it works in Bob

Following the OKR method, goals in Bob include key results that are a set of metrics that measure your progress towards the objective. All key results have to be quantitative and measurable. As Marissa Mayer, a former Vice President at Google, said: “If it does not have a number, it is not a key result.”

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6. Focus on professional development

While it’s important to set deadlines for reaching goals, how an employee progresses toward reaching these goals should be an ongoing process. Organizations today have access to technologies that make it possible to gather data throughout the year, which ensures that employees are able to follow up and review feedback as needed. Having such a mechanism in place makes it possible for individuals, teams and managers to make adjustments along the way.

How it works in Bob

The common recommended goal review cadence is quarterly. With Bob, you can decide when to create the discussion about future goals and create a snapshot of current goals by attaching them to a review cycle.

From strong goals to strong companies

HR departments, team leaders and organizations have much to gain by establishing effective goals for employees. Research shows that setting specific, measurable, attainable and time-sensitive goals boosts overall performance. This is because a strong focus on goal setting by HR motivates people to increase their efforts and prioritize their work days accordingly.

Over the long run, companies that put a premium on goal setting are more likely to increase retention rates, since clearly defined and measured expectations are strongly linked with overall employee satisfaction levels. And, as another study found, there’s a strong connection between low employee turnover and company profits.

To learn more about Goals in Bob, view our complete video tutorial here:

Shayna Hodkin

From Shayna Hodkin

Shayna lives in south Tel Aviv with two dogs and a lot of plants. She writes poems and reads tarot.