Smart Goals for Behavior Goals

Employees with smart goals lead companies in the right direction.
Employees with smart goals lead companies in the right direction. (Image: NA/ Images)

To drive improvements, companies use ongoing goals to motivate employees. Whether a company wants to increase product sales or improve the customer experience, effective managers develop measurable goals for all employees. These goals include specific behaviors such as number of phone calls or presentations made or number of customers served or products sold within a defined time frame. Smart employee goals enable corporations to enter new markets, maintain competitive position and establish new customer relationships.

Characteristics of Smart Behavioral Goals

Reasonable employee goals are specific, easy to understand and attainable. For example, when a restaurant wants employees to sell a menu item such as a new sandwich, management sets an attainable sales goal for each server. Managers may direct employees to sell 10 sandwiches during the month. If managers set the goal too high at 20 new sandwiches during the first week, employees may become discouraged. Reasonable goals help employees focus on behaviors that lead companies to improved results. Smart goals are also clear. For example, if managers set a goal for a certain number of sales presentations per month, they should communicate if the total number of presentations may include phone, in person or web meeting presentations.

Goals for New Versus Existing Employees

During the interview, savvy managers outline goal expectations. Laying out expectations early helps managers determine if the candidate has the right skill set to meet company goals. New employees need smaller goals that gradually increase as skills improve. They need more time to achieve goals. Seasoned employees should have goals commensurate with their experience. Managers should consult with more experienced employees about the reasonableness of the goals and take into account employee input on the number and nature of the goals.

Tools to Create Sound Goals

Technology allows managers to set and track employee behavior goals efficiently. Managers opt for a simple spreadsheet that contains information on each employee's numeric goals and completion dates, or they choose an automated solutions such as or EmpXTrackcom. These web-based tools enable managers to list employees, goal categories, goal names and corresponding due dates. With web-based goals, managers may access goal information from anywhere at any time. Regardless of the method used, managers need to share and discuss goals with employees consistently to make an impact.

Goal Measurement

Goal measurement entails studying progress toward goals at predetermined intervals. Managers update goal progress on spreadsheets or through web-based tools and ascertain what employees need to do to achieve the remaining goal. They communicate the information to employees through face-to-face meetings, email and group meetings on a weekly or monthly basis. Just as importantly, managers praise employees for meeting or exceeding goals while providing constructive advice on how to better progress toward goals.

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