The key to employee retention? Goals!

If you’ve managed people for any amount of time, you know that engaged employees are the key to a successful company. There are plenty of tips and theories for creating and improving engagement, but I want to focus on one in particular- goal setting.

Let’s start with the basics. Do you set professional goals for yourself? Do you ask your team to set goals? Are your team’s goals aligned with the company’s objectives? Hopefully, you work in a transparent and communicative company that openly shares business goals and objectives, but if you don’t, take the initiative to share what you can with your team. Next, start the process by working with each person on your team to create S.M.A.R.T. goals, ultimately improving their chances of success. Finally, help the employee understand how the completion of their individual goals ties into the overall success of the company.

Creating meaningful workplace goals is one way to encourage and nurture engagement in highly valued employees. Ensure you have a scheduled follow up plan to meet with each individual to provide encouragement, answer questions and remove obstacles if necessary. This step will help the employee feel valued and accountable to the process.

For the employee, there are numerous benefits to goal setting in the workplace. Engaged employees need challenges and development beyond their normal job duties, and goals are one way to achieve this. Goal setting can help career path opportunities, providing a future the employee can see and work toward. A leader being invested in their team’s success leads to trust in management and personal accountability, with the bonus effect of feeling personally connected to the company and department’s success.

For the manager, goal setting for yourself and your team assists with performance management. When it comes time to write team reviews and self-assessments, you’ll have plenty of material to use as examples. Engaged and happy employees are more productive and have high morale, and who wouldn’t want a team with those traits? You’re also encouraging your team to grow, develop and create a career path with the company. All these benefits lead to the biggest one of all- employee retention. The worst feeling is getting a resignation of a valued employee handed to you because they felt they had no future. You realize too late that you didn’t spend enough time with that individual to help them see how valued they were. While we can’t prevent attrition entirely, we can use the tools we have to create a workplace where employees grow, thrive and want to work.