in Team Leadership & Management — 9 min read

Research has shown time and time again that those who set goals are far more likely to succeed (and more likely to see better overall outcomes) than those who do not set goals. 

Are you setting goals with the members of your team on a regular basis? If not, chances are they’re not performinweeklyg as well as they could be and, as a result, your company might not be seeing the kind of growth that it’s capable of achieving.

Goal setting can help your employees stay motivated and increase their engagement. The key to seeing great results, though, is making sure you’re using the right goal setting strategies.

Read on to learn more about the importance of goal setting. You’ll also gain more insight into some of the best goal setting techniques business owners, as well as managers and supervisors, can use to keep their teams on track.

People planning at work

Why Goal Setting Is Important for Businesses

There are plenty of advantages that come with setting goals. The following are some of the most noteworthy benefits employers and managers ought to keep in mind:

Increased Focus

When employees know, specifically, what they need to be working toward, it’s easier for them to remain focused. Approximately 70 percent of employees are not engaged, and having clear goals can help you to address this issue within your workplace.

Increased Motivation

If your employees have a goal that they’re working to achieve, they’ll likely feel more motivated on a regular basis, too. This is especially true if that goal has a clear deadline attached to it. 

More Teamwork

Goal setting isn’t just for individual employees. You can also use goal-setting to foster collaboration and encourage employees to work together as a team. Remember, companies that promote collaboration are five times more likely to be high performing than those that do not.

Top Goal Setting Techniques

Clearly, goal setting matters if you want your business to succeed long-term. How do you go about setting goals with your employees, though? 

Here are some of the most effective strategies you can start using today:

OKRs

OKR is short for Objectives and Key Results. This is an effective goal-setting technique that many large corporations, including Netflix and Amazon, use to engage their employees and align their teams. The OKR framework works well for setting goals on the company and team level.

The Objective is a clear and specific mission statement for a particular goal. 

The term “Key Results” refers to the benchmarks one will use to monitor their progress toward achieving an Objective. Key Results are very specific and time bound. They are a way to tell you have achieved your Objective. Usually each Objective will have 2-5 Key Results.

OKRs are set quarterly and measured weekly as part of a team's weekly check-in.

OKRs are a simple system and a great way to align and focus a company or team. But can be difficult to get right the first time. Usually companies need 2-4 quarters implementing OKRs to start to see the benefits.

Watch the video below to learn more about Objectives and Key Results.

What Are OKRs? Learn the Basics of Objectives and Key Results Methodology

SMART Goals

Another popular goal-setting strategy you might want to utilize is the idea of SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

The SMART goals framework is popular because it helps team leaders and employers make sure their employees are really thinking through their goals. It also ensures they’re coming up with a plan for how they’re going to achieve them. 

Using this system requires the goal setter to clarify exactly what they want to accomplish (making the goal specific), figure out how they’re going to measure their progress, and ensure that goal is realistic (or achievable). They must also clarify whether their goal is relevant to their position within the company and set a deadline for when they need to accomplish it (time-bound). 

There are a lot of similarities between SMART goals and OKRs. The main difference, though, is that OKRs can provide additional business-specific context, which isn’t always possible for SMART goals. OKRs are also set quarterly while SMART goals can be set for any type of time period. Employers can use OKRs for company-wide goal-setting, and this system can work better for team goals.

HARD Goals

HARD is another goal-setting acronym. It stands for Heartfelt, Animated, Required, and Difficult. This type of goal was coined by Mark Murphy, the author of the book “Hundred Percenters: Challenge Your Employees to Give It Their All and They'll Give You Even More.”

The idea behind HARD goals is that employees need to aim to serve something that’s bigger than themselves. These kinds of goals will test the goal setter’s limits and, as a result, drive personal achievement.

HARD goals may be effective if you’re looking to increase engagement and motivation and light a fire under some of your team members. The methodology is not as specific as OKRs or SMART goals, though, and might not be detailed or structured enough for some employees. 

Public Goals

Some people are more likely to follow through when it comes to setting and achieving a specific goal if they feel a sense of outer accountability. The knowledge that others are counting on them, as well as the knowledge that others know about the details of their goal, can keep them motivated and on track when they might otherwise feel like giving up. 

This is one reason why OKRs are transparent throughout the company. Everybody knows what everybody else is working on. It is important when tracking OKRs to make sure it is accessible to the whole company.

Try These Goal Setting Techniques Today

As you can see, there are lots of effective goal setting techniques you can use to keep your team members motivated and make sure they’re progressing. 

If you’re not sure where to start or which approach to try first, consider using OKRs during your next planning or goal-setting meeting. OKRs are great for helping employees and teams to set realistic goals and come up with ways to measure their progress toward achieving them. 

Not confident in your ability to use OKRs when setting goals with your team? Weekdone can help. It’s an effective employee management software that helps you streamline the goal-setting process, connect with your team, and generate comprehensive reports to stay on top of your OKR progress. 

Sign up today for a free two-week trial of Weekdone to see what it’s all about and decide if it’s a good fit for your team.