5 Tips for Motivating Employees: SMART Goal Setting for Managers
For people in management roles, goal setting is absolutely essential to motivating employees and creating an environment where they can win, and feel like winners. The 10/90 rule in smart goal setting says that the first 10% of the time that you spend developing absolute clarity about what is to be done will save you 90% of the time once you begin. It can also save you 90% of the mistakes, the costs, and the time of other people involved.
You’ve heard it said that, “you can’t hit a target that you can’t see.” And the follow-up that is, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”
1. SMART Goal Setting
In both personal and business goal setting, you have heard of the “SMART” model of goal setting:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Relevant
T = Time-bounded
A SMART goal is specific. It is perfectly clear to everyone who must be involved in its achievement. A child can tell you how close you are to accomplishing it. It is clear and unambiguous. Most of the problems with goal achieving stem back to a lack of clarity in setting the goal in the first place.
A SMART goal is measurable. It can be defined in numerical or financial terms. It can be broken down into steps, each of which can be measured as well. The more clear the measures, the easier it is to focus and concentrate on achieving those numbers.
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A SMART goal is achievable. It can be accomplished within the constraints of time, money, the external environment, the economy, the skills and abilities of the team members and the other constraints contained both inside and outside the company.
A SMART goal is realistic. It is within the bounds of reality, and is something that people can develop a high level of confidence in achieving. In goal setting, many goals are “merely aspirational.” They do not reflect reality. They are more wishes and hopes than goals.
Finally, a SMART goal is time-bounded. When you have specific schedules for the attainment of each part of the goal, and the completion of each part of the task, it is much easier for people to achieve the goal on schedule.
2. Break it Down
Defining winning can be a major factor in motivating employees. For a person to win, he has to know where the finish line is. He has to know how you define winning. He has to know exactly what he has to do to complete the task and cross the finish line. The smaller and tighter the increments, the easier it is for the other person to feel like a winner. Each time that the staff member achieves a mini-goal, he or she feels like a “mini-winner.” It is the manager’s responsibility to help the employee see that they are using proper goal setting techniques and setting reasonable milestones for them to achieve.
When you assign people a large, multitask project, that my take many months to complete, be sure to set up a series of milestones and benchmarks so that people can have short-term targets to aim at, and can continually generate the feeling of winning.
3. Motivating Employees with Successful Experiences
For a person to feel like a winner, he must succeed at the task. He must achieve the goal. He must accomplish the responsibility and get the result that he was tasked for.
Not only is it the job of the manager to be consistently motivating employees, but doing so by helping each person to have success experiences. If a person has been given a job that is too much for him, the job of the manager is to adjust the job, assign parts of it to someone else, and make it more manageable for the employee. The focus is always on making sure that, whatever job the person has, they are capable of doing it successfully sooner or later.
The best way for motivating employees who are new is to give them a series of small jobs, jobs clearly within their experience and ability.
4. Individual Recognition
They say, “Children cry for it; grown men die for it.” Everybody needs to be recognized for their individual accomplishments by the people around them, and especially above them. Since your team members are intrinsically motivated, it is the anticipation of the recognition they will receive for the completion of a task that motivates them internally to “go the extra mile.” A good tactic for motivating employees is to give positive recognition for an accomplishment, which raises a person’s self-esteem, improves their self-image, and motivates them to do even more and better in the future.
5. Provide Rewards
This is the icing on the cake. You can only get by with praise and recognition for task completion for a limited amount of time. At some point, you must give some kind of reward to acknowledge superior results. Along with motivating employees, if there are no rewards following extra efforts, people lose their enthusiasm and conclude internally, “what’s the use?”
Rewards, however, can be tangible or intangible. A tangible reward is material or financial in some way. It may be a briefcase or a gift certificate. It may be a bonus or a pay increase. These rewards are great for motivating employees and act as a continuous spur to better performance. Rewards can be intangible as well. An intangible reward can be something as simple as taking the person out to lunch to celebrate their success. It can be a bigger office or desk. It can be a new office chair, or a new computer.
I learned that the best financial reward for motivating employees is a specific bonus tied to completion of a specific task. It is a one-time affair. It is not a permanent pay increase that goes on month after month. Short term rewards and bonuses are just as motivating as long-term pay increases. Another intangible reward is time off. When one of my staff members does a great job on a project, I tell them in advance that they need not come in on a Friday. I always give them time to plan their day off in advance, rather than telling them at the last minute.
I hope you enjoyed this article on smart goal setting for motivating employees to success. Do you have any tips you would like to share on motivating employees and encouraging them to peak performance? Please share and comment below!
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