Establishing employee performance goals ensures that all employees are operating at an optimum level, both professionally and personally.


Before setting individual performance goals, be sure employees are aware of the long-term ‘big picture’ organizational goals first. This way everyone starts on the same page. Make sure that each employee understands how their performance fits into the big picture and what is expected. When setting goals, be specific about what you want to accomplish. Devise a way to measure whether the goal was achieved, be it qualitative or quantitative. Additionally, make the goal attainable – the point of the goal is to motivate your employees, not discourage them. Lastly, set a realistic timeline in which the goal is expected to be achieved. A performance timeline ensures accountability and provides a sense of urgency. The goals you set should be relevant to your organization, while at the same time, motivating your employees and investing in their professional development.

Here are the types of performance goals you can set for your employees:

Personal Conduct Improvement

Depending on the improvement needed, discuss goals related to personal improvement with legal counsel before moving forward, to avoid legal liability. Some reasons for personal conduct improvement are gossip, tardiness, harassment, bullying, negativity, poor grooming/hygiene, or personal workplace sloppiness. For the most part, you can address these first via a generic list to all employees to ensure anonymity. If the performance improvement is not realized, then further action may be needed. For example, to improve attitude, consider implementing training for framing things more positively. You could ask the employee to use positive vocabulary or to focus on purposefully framing events in a more positive light.

Professional Improvement

  • Sales

Sales are a great way to implement quantitative goals. You can set a performance goal of a
specific target number or percentage increase in sales from your employees to keep track of
whether the goal was achieved.

  • Performance

First and foremost, ensure that your employees are up-to-date with their industry’s news. The easiest way to do this is by setting a goal of 15-30 minutes a day of reading about new developments and best practices.

Identify your employee’s needs! Leadership, communication, teamwork, administrative skills, and task planning are areas where performance goals can be established. There are seminars and classes available that are general to business  practices, or even specific to your industry on improving professional skills; consider investing in your employees by offering to pay for them to participate.

Encourage collaboration among your employees to increase an overall understanding of the company and what their coworkers’ roles are within the company. A great example of a goal that encourages teamwork is to ask an employee to collaborate with one or more of their coworkers to complete a project. This can be a performance goal for each member of a sales team.

While establishing performance goals can help your business increase sales or productivity, it is important to have your employees’ input when developing them. This ensures that you have employee engagement and are setting realistic goals. Professional and positive wording is key when establishing individual performance goals. Luckily, if you are experiencing writers’ block, LightWork Software’s Performance Management system can be a resource to you: with hundreds of prewritten phrases available, it is easier than ever to frame appraisals and upcoming goals in a positive light.


Contact PeopleSense to learn how LightWork can help your company with performance management.