For every job, there are expectations that have to be met and to reach those goals, a performance goal is needed. Performance goals – also called key performance indicators – are used to rate and grade an employee. Employers set these all the time for their employees to specify work targets as well as a project or work deliverables.
Whether you are working for someone or working for yourself, there is a need to set your own performance goals in order to maximize your potential, boost your personal productivity, and exceed the expectations of your employer or clients. Furthermore, these provide excellent insights into various situations. For example, they can help to determine what is an adequate workload for you, and whether certain productivity tactics you are using are effective or not.
In this article, you will find tips on why you need to set performance goals, as well as 15 performance goal examples that you can set to achieve career and work excellence.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Performance Goal?
- Why You Need to Set Performance Goals
- 15 Examples of Performance Goals
- 1. Be Punctual at Work, Meetings, and Events
- 2. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Exercise Regularly
- 3. Take Initiative
- 4. Improve Your Work Quality
- 5. Request (and Utilize) Feedback
- 6. Develop Job Knowledge and Skills
- 7. Support and Advance Your Organization's Vision, Mission, and Values
- 8. Improve Collaboration With Colleagues
- 9. Know How the Internal Systems Work
- 10. Adhere Strictly to Internal Ethics and Standards
- 11. Manage Communication Effectively
- 12. Improve Your Visibility Within the Organization
- 13. Showcase Creativity
- 14. Master Time Management
- 15. Set Personal Standards
- How to Review Your Goals' Performance
- What to Do When You Fall Short of Your Goals
- What to Do When You Are Reaching Your Goals
- The Bottom Line
What Is A Performance Goal?
Performance or employee goals are short-term objectives that are set for specific duties in your current job position. They are also described as performance expectations related to work to be accomplished and/or core competencies.
Performance goals can be set for various reasons too. Some of those reasons are:
- Improvements to be made
- Actions to be taken
- Attributes to develop
- Things to cut down to increase productivity and achieve desired results.
Performance goals and goals performance review can then be an agreement between an employer and an employee at that point. However, they can also be self-imposed. Personal initiatives are common as employee goals include promotions and pay raises. The focus here is taking your own initiatives, setting your own goals, and helping to achieve uncommon results daily in your career.
Benefits of a Goals Performance Review
There are countless benefits associated with measuring your performance and progress on your goals. You will find some of them below.
Keep Track of Your Goals
It’s easy to get distracted and lose focus if you do not create a plan to follow through with your goals. This won’t happen when you have a plan in place such as a performance review. The review will even be more significant when you have many goals to track, such as financial goals, career goals, family goals, health goals, etc.Measure Your Performance
A scheduled review will help you to evaluate yourself and see how you are performing with your goals. Many times, the information you gather from this evaluation can help you sit tight or push you to do more to accomplish your goals.
Identify Necessary Adjustments
A goals performance review can show you what is working and what is not in your efforts to achieve your goals. Therefore, you might find from your evaluation that you need to make certain adjustments in order to accomplish your goals.
Achieve All-Around Success
Without deliberate reviews, there is a tendency to perform well in one area while other areas suffer. A periodic goals performance review can help you live a balanced life as you keep track of all of your goals and make sure you are not falling short in any area.
Why You Need to Set Performance Goals
Here are some good reasons you should be setting your own employee goals.
To Meet Organizational Requirements
The requirements of your work might be daunting and even beyond your reach. However, when you carefully plan and set goals for meeting these requirements, you will find untapped energy, resources, and even more opportunities to accomplish your goals.
To Be Efficient and Effective
Renowned American management consultant Peter Drucker said:
“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”
Your boss might have to tell you how to do the job right, but you have to take the initiative to figure out what the right job is.
This means looking for uncommon ways to achieve the overall organizational business objectives and going the extra mile in doing what the organization never thought was possible.
To Position Yourself for a Promotion
Setting and achieving your performance goals will earn you a favorable reputation in your organization. It will also open you up to many incentives, including pay raises, promotions, and elevation to a higher office.
The ordinary worker is rewarded for efficiency, whereas the extraordinary worker is promoted for effectiveness.
To Boost Your Employability
Your performance in your current position is the key to your future employment. This holds for people in business too — the satisfaction of your current client might lead to getting a referral for another client.
When you achieve uncommon results by setting performance goals, you are also indirectly opening up future opportunities for yourself.
15 Examples of Performance Goals
The following examples of performance goals will boost your productivity, impress your boss and coworkers, and set you up for success.
1. Be Punctual at Work, Meetings, and Events
Punctuality is essential to performance. By arriving early to work, meetings, and events, your mind will be calm, concentrated, and organized as you think through the day’s work and start early.
Furthermore, punctuality also sends some positive signals about you to colleagues, seniors, and even your clients. Being on time consistently demonstrates foresight, competence, and reliability. It shows everyone around that you are the master of your life; you can anticipate possible hang-ups and have the ability to change your plans and accommodate those hang-ups.
Set a goal to be on time, and it will boost both your performance and reputation.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Exercise Regularly
Work requires positive energy, mental alertness, and concentration. Therefore, you need to continually put your body in a state whereby it can perform optimally. Diet and exercise affect the state of your health, which has a direct impact on your performance.
You are what you eat, so a good set of employee goals can be to eat right and be in a good mental state. Also, plan a regular exercise schedule to put your body in good shape.
3. Take Initiative
Set a goal to always take your own initiative. It is easier to get submerged in work requirements that you forget to do this. You sometimes need to look outside the requirements of your organization, get to know the trends in the larger industry, and apply uncommon techniques to achieve your overall organizational goals.
Taking initiative might not occur to you naturally but by setting these goals and doing a goals performance review on yourself can give you the push you need.
4. Improve Your Work Quality
What is the quality of your deliverables? It’s not good for your personal or company reputation for your deliverables to get rejected often. If there are too many complaints about your work, it probably means that you are doing something wrong.
Your supervisor will be happy to spend less energy on trying to correct your work, and your clients will be happy not to see flaws in your deliverables. Set goals to always ensure you do your best to only send out work with a touch of finesse.
5. Request (and Utilize) Feedback
One of the ways to improve your performance at work is to get regular feedback. Positive feedback will encourage you to identify and, if possible, repeat the actions that brought the previous results. Negative feedback also works as it will help you to know what you should improve on moving forward. Solving issues is first noticing the problem and mitigating how often you do it through planning on habit replacing.
6. Develop Job Knowledge and Skills
You might have good intentions, but not having the required working knowledge and skills will impair your performance long-term. Industries grow and change and what you learned in college or university might not be relevant in the world today.
Setting employee goals to acquire emerging knowledge and skills required in your industry can keep information and your actions fresh and current. You might need to sign up for short courses or simply carry out research to get to know the recent trends and developments.
7. Support and Advance Your Organization’s Vision, Mission, and Values
You need to see your work as helping to accomplish the larger objectives of your organization. Then you can set performance goals to make it happen.
The popular story of the American president John F. Kennedy and a janitor comes to mind here. The president had visited the NASA space center and saw a janitor carrying a broom. The president asked the janitor what he was doing, and the man replied: “I’m helping put a man on the moon!”
An ordinary worker would have answered differently. When we see the importance of our “little” efforts in making our organization grow, we’ll become more passionate about our responsibilities.
8. Improve Collaboration With Colleagues
You need to bear in mind that you are not in competition with anyone in your organization. You need the cooperation of everyone to achieve your work goals and the organization’s goals.
Collaboration at work creates a healthy work environment where ideas are freely shared. You will be surprised to see your performance improve as you share ideas freely and collaborate within your organization.
9. Know How the Internal Systems Work
If you are in a managerial position, you might need to shadow the departments in your organization and build a wider understanding of what goes into each department’s daily practices. This will help you to understand the challenges and obstacles your team members are experiencing, and you will be able to manage the situation much better than when that knowledge is lacking.
10. Adhere Strictly to Internal Ethics and Standards
One of the ways to boost your performance at work is to work in compliance with ethical and operational standards attached to your job. It’s good to think outside the box, but policies are also meant to be adhered to. This ensures that your work gets appreciated and that you don’t land yourself in avoidable trouble.
11. Manage Communication Effectively
Effective communication is essential for work performance. This includes both verbal and non-verbal communication. Communicate clearly in reports, presentations, notifications, meetings, etc.
Also, respond to important emails and other forms of inquiries promptly. Ask and seek clarification when necessary, and don’t make assumptions on matters that have not been clearly stated.
12. Improve Your Visibility Within the Organization
Decide to attend and participate actively in both formal and informal meetings within your organization, and air your views when important issues are being discussed. This will give you access to major developments within the organization, which may not be available to the ordinary staff. With such information, you might be able to plan your actions and work accordingly.
13. Showcase Creativity
Creativity can be described as an uncommon display of skills that brings about uncommon solutions and innovations. The value of creativity is measured in terms of the business results that exceed mediocrity. Be intentional about being creative at work.
14. Master Time Management
Set a goal to always take charge of your time. Prioritize and focus on the most important tasks, arrange your time so as not to exceed deadlines, and create some time as well for learning and leisure.
15. Set Personal Standards
Carve a niche for yourself and set standards for growth. Your goal will be to carry out your responsibilities within the framework of your own personal standards.
These standards are based on your work ideals and how you want to build your reputation at work to give you and your work a cutting edge.
How to Review Your Goals’ Performance
Carrying out an effective goals performance review begins with setting your goals correctly. Be clear about your expectations and results. When you set S.M.A.R.T Goals, it will be much easier for you to track, measure, and evaluate them.
There are no hard and fast rules for carrying out a goals performance review. It all depends on the kind of goals and the time you attach to your goals.
Your review can show you different things about your goals and yourself, including:
- That you have achieved your goals
- That you failed to achieve your goals
- That you are on course to achieving your goals
- That at the rate you are going, you might not achieve your goals
Whatever it is that your review reveals, there is always something to be done to improve the situation. Here are some ways you can review your goals:
Based on End Results
Some goals are “end goals,” and the only way to review them is by whether they turn out as a hit or miss. For example, setting a goal to land a particular job or making the cut-off point in a professional exam can be a hit or miss.
However, when you have a couple of goals in different areas, your performance review can include looking at how many of your end goals you have been able to achieve versus the ones you couldn’t achieve. You will be able to judge whether you are generally making progress or not.
Based on Milestones and Timelines
For effective goal setting and tracking, it is usually advised that when setting your goals, you should break them down into smaller units so that you can measure your performance throughout and also get motivated when you accomplish those smaller goals. The milestones will help you to know if you are moving closer to accomplishing your bigger goals or not. Below are some examples of this kind of review.
If you set a goal to become a CEO in 5 to 8 years from your current level as a mid-level manager, having a rising portfolio every two to three years is a notable milestones in accomplishing your goal.
Another example is planning to retire at 50, meaning that you want to be financially secure at 50. If you are currently 35, your investment portfolio review can be set to every 3 years to know how close or far you are from your goal. You would have carried out this review at least four times before your planned retirement.
What to Do When You Fall Short of Your Goals
When you fall short of your goals, there are several things you can do to get yourself back on track.
1. Review Possible Reasons for Failure
If it is an end goal, then you might want to ask questions about why the goal failed. Is it that you didn’t put in the required work, planning, diligence, or follow-up? Or were there simply factors outside of your control?
2. Generate Ideas to Mitigate the Problems Now or in the Future
If you are able to trace what is responsible for the failure, then brainstorm possible ways to mitigate such problems so that they won’t be an hindrance to achieving your goal in the future.
3. Get Motivated
If you are still within your set time limit but are running out of time, what you need is motivation and a positive attitude. You don’t have to give up on your goals, irrespective of what the results currently look like.
4. Change Your Goal Post
Changing your goal post might mean extending the deadline if possible, reducing your goal projection to a smaller manageable scale, or doing something different.
What to Do When You Are Reaching Your Goals
It’s okay to celebrate the achievement of your goals, but it’s also not quite time to relax. You can do the following when you are hitting your goals.
1. Raise the Bar
It is better to set hard-to-reach goals than to set ones that you can reach without much sweat. So when you hit your goal, you should raise the bar.
For example, if you set a goal to read two books in a month, and you’ve been consistent with your goal for about 4 to 6 months, you don’t have to wait until the end of the year to set another goal. Increase the books from 2 to 3, and you’ll have more books and knowledge added to your archive in a year.
2. Improve the Quality of Your Outputs
When you are hitting your goals, you can also increase the quality of your outputs. For example, if you set performance goals like meeting deadlines, you won’t just stop at meeting the deadlines, but you will also ensure that the quality of your work deliverables is top-notch.
3. Dream Bigger and Set New Goals
Reaching your goals and hitting your targets too often might be an indication that you are not dreaming big enough or that you have outgrown the kinds of goals you are setting. It is time to start thinking differently and create a new set of goals that will stretch your abilities.
The Bottom Line
No matter how you are currently performing at work, there is always room for improvement. Setting performance goals will help you to look into the areas needing improvement and find multiple ways to carry out your responsibilities — better ways that will help you achieve uncommon results.
Featured photo credit: Adeolu Eletu via unsplash.com
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