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Employee engagement is key to employee, and ultimately, company success. Effective managers, training and upskilling programs, and teambuilding can all contribute to higher employee engagement and therefore performance. However, regular goal setting is another crucial step for improving employee performance, and the practice should not be limited to January 1st or during annual reviews.

Setting goals, whether they are broad in range, or as specific as getting to work five minutes earlier, can be beneficial to both employees and employers. According to the Harvard Business Review, goal setting is, "particularly important as a mechanism for providing ongoing and year-end feedback. By establishing and monitoring targets, you can give your employees real-time input on their performance while motivating them to achieve more."1 By monitoring and motivating, employees are recognized for their achievements and encouraged, making them more likely to be engaged and try to perform well.

Furthermore, by helping employees set their goals, employers and managers have an opportunity to, "connect individuals' goals to broader organization objectives."1 When an employee's goals and tasks can be linked to the performance of the overall organization, the importance of their contributions are made clear. Moreover, the goals help reinforce a set of desired behaviors, and, "those behaviors drive towards the ultimate goals that the organization sets."2

Goal setting should not be limited to employees who are underperforming. Goal setting is necessary for employees of all productivity levels as, "high performing employees need ongoing feedback and coaching," too.1 This feedback and coaching can be a motivating force for those high performing employees to perform even better. Thus making this goal-setting process, for employees of all achievement and performance levels, crucial for employee and employer well-being.

Setting goals, for incumbent employees or those just entering the workforce, can help employees better prioritize their work, maximize their productivity, and ultimately perform better. Workers with competing priorities, like their education or personal lives, can benefit tremendously from the structure of goal-setting, as will their employers.

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Resources: (1) Harvard Business Review (2) LinkedIn Learning