One of the primary tasks of a manager is to help their employees with their own career goals. Whether it’s making sure they are trained properly or developing a promotional path, career goals are a great way to promote engagement with you and the company and to motivate employees to maximum effort and success.

What’s the best way to develop and sustain career goals? Here are five methods

1. Create SMART goals

Setting goals is essentially creating a roadmap to where an employee should be at a certain period of time. They can’t be vague or general, because those types of goals can’t be achieved. “Become better” at a task, whether it’s supervising a warehouse or a group of healthcare providers, is too general for anyone to attain. What does “better” mean? It’s too open to interpretation.

To avoid generalities, establish SMART goals. SMART is an acronym made up of the first letters of words conveying what the goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

In other words, instead of “become better,” you could develop a career goal to 1) increase production (specific) by 10% (measurable). This employee is very capable of doing this, so it’s achievable and realistic. Finally, a deadline could be set at six months, so it’s time-bound.

2. Identify tasks on the road to the goal

Even though the goal may be specific, it likely still needs to be broken down into more-focused tasks. Increasing production is specific; but how? Does it involve learning new equipment, for example? Streamlining a step? Identify all the methods of achieving the increase.

3. Be sure to motivate

People who are motivated are spurred on to reach their goals. Set timelines with milestones that you will applaud and praise in one-on-ones with your employee. Be sure to praise the achievement. It’s not all the goal, but it’s part-way there.

If your employee has some challenges along the way, all the more reason to motivate. Make it clear that no one succeeds all the time. In fact, many people learn more effectively from failure, or something they didn’t understand the first time, than from a slam dunk.

4. Recognize achievement

It’s important to recognize the milestones publicly as well. If your employee succeeds at a milestone, mention it to your manager. It can also be published in a newsletter or an email blast of company achievements. Everyone wants to be recognized in a positive manner. It’s more motivation. In fact, it’s motivation for everyone who reads it.

5. Reward attainment

When your employee does achieve a career goal, be sure to reward them. It can be a promotional raise or a bonus, depending on your company. Other companies reward with certificates or gift cards.

Need help in hiring?

At Expert Staffing, we offer recruitment strategies for talented employees and those eager to grow. To find out how to use our services and find qualified candidates in your industry, contact a consultant today.