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4 Tips to Help New Employees Set Goals

For employers, goal-setting increases employee engagement and retention levels, and benefits your organization overall. Goals also are key to employee success, as clear and challenging goals drive performance and productivity.

So, how should employers approach goal-setting with new hires? They may not be as experienced as the rest of your personnel, but these workers will be eager to pursue their own set of goals.

And you should be involved in the process from Day One. Remember these tips when goal-setting with new employees:

1. Identify goals before the hiring process

Before a candidate walks in the door to interview, set goals for the position itself. Understanding the expectations and experience needed to complete the job functions successfully helps identify the correct potential employee during the interview process, and in turn, makes your candidate search easier! Objectives must be set in regards to:

  • position-specific goals: clearly defined tasks needed to perform the function of the position
  • project goals: project-driven with a designated beginning and end
  • professional development goals: objectives that further the employee’s career

Project and professional development goals should evolve as candidates begin interviewing. No two applicants are the same; their wants and needs for those goals differ. Remaining open and flexible to those desires is key to a successful employer-employee goal-setting discussion.

2. Collaborate with new hires

Your new hire made it to their first day, great! Now is a good time to sit down with them and discuss setting goals. Collaboration is important in this step, as it allows employees to individualize their goals, but ensures their objectives are aligned with the company’s mission to motivate personnel.

Company goals should resonate with current employees, as well as workers who just walked in the door. An organization with clear goals and values can motivate employees and unify the company as a whole. They see their success as overall company success. Helping new personnel understand their role in the bigger picture improves engagement and productivity throughout the organization.

3. Construct achievable goals

For goals to make a difference within your employee’s professional advancement, they must be feasible. Using the SMART framework, goals should be:

  • Specific: answer who, what when, where and why
  • Measurable: quantitative in nature
  • Attainable: within reach
  • Relevant: tied to company mission
  • Timely: with time frames to maintain urgency

These may evolve steadily, just as the workplace changes daily. Don’t be afraid to revisit target dates and break larger objectives into smaller ones in the case of an employee feeling overwhelmed. Invite your workers to keep a calendar or a planner to keep track of their objectives.

4. Report progress often

Unfortunately, goals often are created and then left either untouched or deemed unreachable by employers and employees. And when review season rolls around, the disappointment is palpable as both sides realize the goals weren’t achieved.

Measuring progress throughout the year is essential. With younger generations, constant feedback is needed to determine success. Daily, weekly or monthly reviews of goals is crucial to increasing engagement and motivating your workforce.

If an employee will be unable to reach a goal within the given time frame, try to understand the obstacles he or she faces, and work with them to create a feasible path to completion. Keeping communication channels open will help your employee feel at ease when discussing unfinished objectives.

As goals are created, visited, revisited and achieved, remember that your new employees are just as valuable to your workplace as current personnel. Retaining and engaging them is crucial to growing your company. Goal-setting among all employees clarifies their role within your organization and as your new hires achieve what they set out to do, it pushes everyone to be better.