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The Power of Employee Goals and How They Amplify Your Wellness Program

Setting realistic, achievable employee goals is essential for fostering a productive and motivated workforce. These milestones serve as a roadmap for both individual and organizational success, which can in turn boost engagement, track accountability, and produce real lifestyle change. 

From work performance to personal development, setting goals and tracking progress enable employees to monitor achievements in real time. This sense of accomplishment can do wonders for employee wellness, motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction—and aggregating data within a personalized wellness platform keeps goals top of mind.

To improve your organization’s goal setting process, let’s review five types of effective employee goals and strategies for setting meaningful objectives that drive real results for your wellness program.

The 5 Different Types of Employee Goals

While it helps to align individual goals with organizational objectives, they don’t have to be the same. In fact, performance management is just one small aspect of employee goal setting.

Here are five different types of workforce goals that have proven to be most effective:

1. Employee Performance Goals

Performance-based milestones are often the first place organizations start when developing employee goals. 

These objectives typically focus on specific job-related tasks and outcomes, such as increasing sales figures, improving customer satisfaction scores, or enhancing the quality of work produced. One way to keep these objectives top of mind is by setting up a regular performance review with each employee to measure progress, provide feedback, and make any necessary adjustments.

💡 Example: A sales representative sets a performance goal of increasing their monthly sales by 20% over the next six months.

2. Professional Development Goals

While employee performance goals tend to focus on short-term wins, professional development emphasizes long-term growth. 

These career goals include completing a certification program, attending industry conferences, or acquiring new skills from a course or workshop. Not only do these professional goals improve job satisfaction and performance, but offering learning and development opportunities within a wellness platform is a strong engine for boosting program engagement.

💡 Example: An employee sets a goal to complete a course in data analytics by the end of the next quarter to improve their decision-making skills.

3. Personal Development Goals

Soft skills—or interpersonal skills—are vitally important for effective teamwork and leadership. 

Personal development goals focus on improving these skills, such as public speaking, emotional management, conflict resolution, and time management. Competency in these areas can provide employees with a leg up across various roles and industries, allowing them to work well with others wherever they are.

💡 Example: After identifying feelings of anxiety speaking in front of others, an employee sets a goal to deliver four presentations in team meetings over the next year.

4. Collaboration and Team Goals

Team collaboration goals are aimed at improving the way employees function together as a unit to achieve shared objectives. 

While workers might have the same company goal or mission in common, each individual employee can set their own specific goal to boost collaboration. For instance, someone might make a plan to lead a team-building activity or improve interdepartmental communication.

💡 Example: A project manager aims to lead a cross-functional team in developing a new product by the end of the year.


5. Personal Wellness Goals

Last but not least, personal wellness goals are designed to improve the overall health and wellbeing of employees. 

These goals might include adopting healthier eating habits, increasing physical activity, or even tracking sleep habits. Fostering a culture of wellness not only benefits employees but also contributes to a more positive and productive work environment—reducing absenteeism while boosting overall morale.

💡 Example: An employee sets a personal wellness goal of incorporating a 5-minute daily stretching routine into their workweek to boost their energy levels and reduce stress.

How To Design Employee Goals

Now that we understand the five types of employee goals, it’s time to set some of our own. But before we start, it’s important to understand how to set a realistic goal.

The first step is to talk with employees. That doesn’t just mean providing feedback in a performance review—rather, managers should create an open dialogue about what each employee wants to achieve. This kind of engagement is critical for ensuring that goals are meaningful, personally relevant, and realistic.

Next, align each goal with overall company objectives. This will foster a unified direction that contributes to both individual and organizational success.

Finally, focus the end goal on employee growth and development. Whether personal or professional, helping employees set goals that promote growth and skill enhancement creates a supportive environment that encourages continuous improvement.

In addition to following these three steps, employers can also use frameworks such as SMART or OKR to elevate their goal-setting methodology.

What Is a SMART Goal?

SMART goals are designed to provide employees with clear and achievable goals by ensuring each objective is:

  • Specific: Goals should be clear and specific, answering the who, what, where, and why.
  • Measurable: Goals should include criteria to measure progress and success.
  • Achievable: Goals should be realistic and attainable, considering available resources and constraints.
  • Relevant: Goals must align with broader business objectives and be worthwhile to pursue.
  • Time-bound: Every goal needs a deadline to ensure timely achievement.

For example, instead of setting a vague goal like “improve sales,” a SMART goal would be “increase sales by 10% next quarter through targeted campaigns.” This structured approach is more effective than establishing broad goals, ensuring accountability and measurable success.

The OKR Approach

The Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework is a powerful tool for setting ambitious yet achievable goals. OKRs encourage alignment and focus, helping teams prioritize efforts and track progress.

Objectives are qualitative or inspirational aims designed to drive the organization forward. Key results, on the other hand, are quantitative and measurable, providing clear indicators of success.

For instance, an objective might be to “enhance customer satisfaction.” To achieve this, the employee will set goals based on key results, such as “achieving a 90% satisfaction rating on post-support surveys.” 

Helping Employees Set and Achieve Meaningful Goals

Setting goals is just the beginning—in reality, progress is a cyclical process, requiring both employees and employers to continuously review and adjust their objectives.

Here are a few best practices for helping employees design and achieve meaningful goals:

Consider the Short and Long Term

It’s important to differentiate between short- and long-term goals. Short-term goals can provide quick wins that build momentum, while long-term goals align with career development and organizational growth. 

This will help employees focus on immediate tasks while working toward future aspirations. For example, an employee might aim to complete a project by the end of the month, while they’re also on a career development path toward a promotion in a year.

Conduct Formal (and Casual) Performance Reviews

Regular performance reviews offer a structured opportunity to assess goal progress, identify areas for improvement, offer constructive feedback, and adjust objectives as needed. 

Managers can schedule regular quarterly reviews to ensure workers have clear milestones and timelines to work toward. However, don’t forget to incorporate casual check-ins to maintain ongoing support and communication.

Provide Continuous Support and Feedback

Whether in a formal performance review or a casual one-on-one check-in, employers should provide resources, training, and guidance to help employees overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Through continuous support and constructive feedback, employees can identify specific, actionable areas for improvement.

Recognize and Reward Hard Work and Progress

Of course, it’s not all about what employees could be doing better—it’s also crucial to recognize and reward what they’re doing right

Celebrating progress, milestones, and achievements—whether through verbal praise, bonuses, or other incentives—reinforces positive behavior, motivating employees to continue to strive toward their goals. Acknowledging this hard work also boosts morale and fosters a culture of appreciation and engagement.

Review Goals Periodically To Ensure Achievability

Finally, it’s essential that managers regularly review goals with employees to ensure the objectives remain relevant and realistic. 

As circumstances change, goals may need to be adjusted to reflect new priorities, challenges, or achievements. Reviewing them helps maintain alignment with organizational objectives and ensures that employees stay focused on meaningful targets.

By reassessing goals periodically, managers can help employees stay on course and make any necessary adjustments to their strategies.

How Can a Wellness Program Help Employees Succeed?

Wellness programs play a crucial role in supporting employees as they achieve their goals. By housing activities like fitness challenges, stress management trackers, and professional development opportunities in a centralized location, wellness platforms can streamline engagement and ultimately help employees thrive acrgeoss all dimensions of wellbeing.

To learn more about how WellRight can help your team succeed, request a demo today.

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