With the start of the new year upon us, it also brings the perfect opportunity to work with employees on establishing goals and objectives for the upcoming year. This is “peak season” for individuals who dedicate a large portion of their time to employee development. Working with your employees to create goals and objectives is key, especially for those who are driven by results. But more importantly, it’s exciting for an employee to meet and exceed their goals and experience the direct impact they have on their company’s success.

At Society, we are no stranger to goal planning. Each employee establishes an objective plan and tracks their annual goals. These plans are above and beyond what is considered our “daily work.” They include both company objectives and personal professional growth objectives for the employee. We believe in enriching the individual while still maintaining our focus on company goals. Having a well-structured plan with milestone dates established can really be a driver for keeping people on track. While there are many structures for setting goals, we choose to use the SMART goal process. SMART stands for:

Specific: Is there enough detail to the goal?
Measureable: How do you know the goal was successful? What measurements are in place?
Achievable and Agreed Upon: Between employee and supervisor
Realistic: Goals should be a stretch, but not out of reach
Timed: Do you have a timeline and completion date established?

It is important for employee goals to tie into the company’s overall corporate goals for the year. When employees can see that direct connection between their goal and the company goal, it instills a sense of pride that they contributed to the success of the organization. One of the biggest steps to remember in setting goals for your business is the importance of sharing these objectives with everyone in your company. Employees are genuinely interested in where the organization is headed and want to know how they can help get it there. Sharing the Annual Corporate Plan can help with that. It keeps all employees aligned with a common vision.

Have you set personal or professional goals for 2014? What do you plan to do to make this year better than the last? Please share in a comment below. Best wishes for a successful 2014, and think SMART!

-Amy Collett