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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 18 January 2021
  • Alex Penfield

How to Set New Year’s Goals with Your Employees

New year, new goals! As a small business owner, you are always striving to grow, learn and reach new milestones, and a new year is no exception. Your entrepreneurial spirit means you are constantly setting new goals to work toward and finding creative ways to make them a reality. But what about your employees? While they may not have a direct ownership stake, your team is key to the success of your company, so keeping them on track and motivated is just as important as you enter a new year of growth and opportunity.

person writing at a desk

Goal setting can be one of the best ways to establish motivation and increase productivity for your team. By giving employees something to work toward, it creates an environment grounded in purpose, inspiration and loyalty. Goals can include anything from improving sales numbers to honing interpersonal skills. When effectively connected to specific business objectives, goals can benefit both employee’s individual career development as well as the overall growth of your company.

The strongest employee-development plans are thoughtfully crafted for maximum impact. When goal setting, ensure each objective is:

  • Measurable – Nothing is more frustrating than setting a goal with no real way to determine if it can be accomplished. Ensure each objective is tangible, specific and trackable. Use precise language when crafting goals. For instance, instead of saying “Be more of a people person,” try “Connect with at least 10 customers per month.” Consider including tactics for achieving each goal as well as a timeline for completion.
  • Attainable – Be realistic. Include goals that are within reach. Objectives that seem unattainable can often lead to a lag in motivation. Consider employees’ current skill sets, don’t expect drastic changes overnight and remember that nothing is set in stone. For high performers, consider including stretch goals that allow for the opportunity to excel.
  • Personal – Employees are not one-size-fits-all, and neither are objectives. Your employees will be more motivated to hit their goals if they feel they are tailored specifically for them. Get a sense of pain points and areas of interest for each employee and build these into their objectives for the year. Additionally, consider encouraging employees to include personal goals, such as completing a half-marathon, alongside professional goals to make your team feel even more supported by their workplace.
  • Rewarding – Never underestimate the power of incentivization. You can further motivate your team by providing something tangible for them to work toward. These rewards can be monetary, but they can also come in forms such as additional time off, role advancement or special recognition in the workplace.

Goal setting is a great tool, but only if you keep up with the plan once it has been established. Stay consistent and check in with your team. Set clear expectations regarding how and when the goals will be assessed throughout the year. Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate the little wins along the way. It’s easy to focus on the bigger business picture, but remember that each day counts — all 365 of them!

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