Goal Setting for Employees

As we examined goal-setting theory this week, it made me wonder about how and when to start the process of requiring employees to work from goals. After reading some articles about goal setting, I found this article from Inc. that addresses the idea of working with brand new hires from the beginning to set manageable goals.

For example, the article by Lou Dubois, begins by listing the four types of goals that every new employee should have:

1. Essence of the Job Goals

ex. My example of this would be for a salesperson to achieve “x” number of dollars in sales during their first six months.

2. Project Goals

ex. My example of this would be goals pertaining to a new employee redrafting the company’s internal communications procedures.

3. Professional Development Goals

ex. My example of this would be the employee enrolling in a Masters program to develop their overall business management skills.

4. Performance Goals

ex. My example of this would be the employer specifying the expectations of the position from a procedural point of view, like how the employee asks for time off, what is appropriate for a lunch break, etc. These will be necessary items for the employee to know, but in my experience are often not provided to the employee or the employee is too afraid to ask.

The most surprising item from this article was in relation to tracking the results of goals and the possibility of actually changing goals. I have only been aware of scenarios in which goals are set and the employee is then expected to meet those goals or not receive the award or incentive that results at that level. However, Dubois says “It’s a great idea to be flexible with regard to goals.” This got me thinking about the positive effect changing goals strategically could have, especially when considering the work of a new employee. Maybe the goals were set too high or too low because the employee was new to a position? By monitoring the goals on a regular basis they could be changed to help make the goals more valuable to that particular employee’s current productivity.


Dubois, Lou. (2010). “How to Set Goals for New Employees.” Inc. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com.


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