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January 13th, 2020, Bronwyn Wainwright, Top Employers Institute
January 13th, 2020, Bronwyn Wainwright, Top Employers Institute

Why personal goal setting increases performance

Organisational objectives aren’t the only goals that should be front of mind as the new year kicks off. It’s important to step back and consider personal goals within the context of your role, team and organisation – not only for yourself as a leader, but for your employees too.

Make an impact

We are operating in an era where ensuring career growth is no longer enough to challenge and motivate employees. Our upcoming HR Trends Report 2020 reveals that, when it comes to employee engagement and performance management, Top Employers are focusing on a three-pillar approach in which career, people and social enrichment are equally important.

Make it personal

Leaders can no longer simply focus on financial or operational targets like productivity, industrial growth or global footprint. Now, it’s about impact and purpose.

For Top Employers, walking the talk in this domain is key. They are leading by example: we are seeing HR leaders for leading organisations implementing performance management practices that require all managers and employees to have some balance between professional and personal goals in their yearly objectives.

Whether those goals aim for all annual leave to be taken before the year is over, for example, or learning a new skill, or completing a mindfulness course by the end of Q2, personal goal setting enables your employees to become more engaged by striving for those aspirations that are relevant and specific to their needs.

It is essential is to link personal goals to professional targets and organisational objectives. In this sense, objectives must be aligned with how everyone, both individually and collectively, can enrich the world of work alongside their own growth and development.

Being committed to taking leave results in well-rested and energised employees, who are less likely to suffer burnout and more likely to be more innovative and creative in their roles.
A team of mindful individuals will be able to spot concerns before they become issues and find more efficient solutions, for example.

An interconnection in the three areas of the professional, personal and social spheres leads to increased performance, which ultimately means that the benefits should be felt by employees, teams, the organization, customers, and perhaps most importantly, society. It is also becoming the norm to see objectives linked to organisational values, with 96% of Top Employers doing so, along with creating objectives around CSR and collaborative activities.

Connect performance to employee experience

While these objectives are meant to motivate and enrich employees, the reality is that only 77% of leading organisations globally have a rationale on how their performance management approach contributes to an optimal employee experience.

In addition, issues such as transparency still require attention and improvement, for example, only 58% of leading organisations ensure that transparent goal setting is part of their approach.
As leaders incorporate personal goals within the professional realm, performance management is in turn evolving into a development tool where leaders and employees can have meaningful conversations about aspirations, impact and purpose at regular intervals throughout the year. Thus, these conversations are becoming two-way exchanges that continue to engage both leaders and employees.

The process of goal setting is also becoming agile, with 86% of Top Employers providing a flexible timeline to allow alignment with changing organisational contexts and the individual’s type of work.

Encouraging leaders and employees to make room for personal goal setting, to have regular honest conversations, and allowing goals to be flexible as circumstances change, is a good way to break out the conventional and sometimes stressful process of performance management.