Goal Setting for the New Year

Just like setting New Year’s resolutions, setting SMART goals at work can make the difference between identifying what it is we want to achieve for the year and what the company needs us to focus on. January is a great time to start talking to employees about the goals for the year ahead.

Give your employees sight of the company goals, and the department goals, and then work out for them a set of SMART goals in individual meetings so that there is a high level of engagement and motivation to achieve those goals.

Why set goals:

  • To deliver business performance
  • To stretch and challenge individuals
  • To link an individual’s performance to the achievements of higher business goals
  • To provide a means for measuring progress
  • To focus behaviours
  • To motivate and develop the individual

Components of SMART goals are agreed by employee and manager, so that there is clarity and ownership of the performance needed to be successful. Making the goals SMART means the feedback conversation will be more effective and meaningful for both the employee and the manager.


Specific in language

Measurable in quantifiable terms

Achievable with a reasonable effort

Results oriented, not activity oriented

Time bound

Remember, if a goal cannot be measured, attainment can never be known. What gets measured gets done!

Measurement checklist

  • Are the goals realistic?
  • Can each goal be assessed individually?
  • Has personal bias been avoided?
  • Have circumstances beyond anyone’s control been considered?
  • Can evidence be provided to support performance rating for each goal?
  • Has objectivity been maximised?

Providing ongoing and regular feedback is very important and can be the difference between effective performance achievement and mis-communication between the employee and manager.

Objectives of giving feedback

  • Positive feedback
    • Reinforces achievements
    • Motivates the individual
    • Acknowledges effort
  • Development feedback
    • Gives the individual an opportunity to change their behaviour
    • Helps resolve issues before they escalate to bigger problems

Guidelines for giving feedback:

  • Check your motivation for giving someone feedback.
  • Give feedback as immediately as possible.
  • Respect people’s needs for private discussions.
  • Be honest and upfront.
  • Recognise the positive aspects of a person’s performance.
  • Focus on specific performance examples, relating to things which actually happened in people’s jobs.
  • Make your discussions two way, ask questions, check reactions etc.
  • Vary your style according to the needs of the individual and situation.
  • Focus on helping to move someone’s performance forward.
  • Be tentative about information which is not completely clear.

Our team of skilled and experienced HR Consultants are available to discuss any related matter that this article highlights for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on info@voltedge.ie or call our office on 01 5252914.