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Goal Planning & Alignment Performance Reviews

Performance Review Goals Examples for Employees and Managers

September 1, 2023
11 min read

Performance Management, Supercharged


This post about performance review goals examples was originally published in October 2021. It was updated with new information in September 2023. 

Goals provide a clear picture of what every employee, department, and organization plans to accomplish. Goal-setting is a reliable way to keep everyone on track, from executives to hourly workers. It’s important to ensure that you set measurable goals to get an accurate picture of every employee’s progress.

Today, we’ll give some examples of measurable goals for managers and employees in light of performance review season.

Why are Performance Review Goals Important?

Before we dive into examples of performance goals, let’s talk about why we set goals in the first place. Setting measurable goals is important for many reasons:

  • Gives every employee concrete objectives to work toward
  • Presents a clear vision for what individuals and teams will accomplish
  • Provides a framework for measuring performance, recognizing achievements, and giving promotions
  • Keeps employees and managers engaged, on-task, and accountable
  • Promotes employee development and retention
  • Boosts productivity, motivation, and morale

Goals create transparency around expectations that help employees feel more secure in their positions. They help managers grow their management skills and lead their teams to success. Research even shows that when people set more difficult goals, they put in more effort and work harder to achieve those goals. According to Gallup, setting and meeting goals is one of the three core indicators of an employee’s success in a role.

Gallup research shows that setting and meeting #goals are one of the three core indicators of an employee’s #success in their role. Keep reading about measurable goals to set in 2022 from @ClearCompany:

Those are just some of the reasons that goal-setting is a highly effective performance management tool. Now, we’ll look at some examples of measurable goals for employees, including those that may not seem measurable at first glance. We’ll also discuss how you can tie them into your performance review cycles.

SMART Goals for Performance Reviews

Measurable work goals enable managers and employees to track progress as they’re working. For managers, measurable goals provide an opportunity to address any lags in productivity and keep goals on target. They allow managers to easily identify high-performing and high-potential employees. Managers can also offer recognition upon goal completion and while employees work toward each goal.

There are many methods your organization can use to construct performance goals for employees. One of the most popular methods is SMART goal-setting. SMART goals are touted as being highly effective by SHRM and other respected industry publications. SMART goals are:

  • S - Specific 
  • M - Measurable 
  • A - Achievable 
  • R - Relevant
  • T - Time-bound or timely

If your company utilizes a performance management system, measurable goals are much easier to track. Employees set SMART goals in the platform and provide updates as they progress. Managers can then refer back to those goals and updates during each performance review. A positive response from your employees and results are ultimately the most important elements of your employee goal-setting process.

How to Develop Performance Goals for Your Work Evaluation

Performance evaluations are a crucial part of professional growth and development. They’re an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, identify areas for improvement, and align your efforts with company objectives. 

One of the key components of a successful performance evaluation is setting clear and meaningful performance goals. Here are a few steps you and your employees can take to create new goals at work:

    1. Self-Reflect: Where are you in your career, and where do you want to go? Consider your strengths and weaknesses, as well as any feedback you've received from managers or colleagues. Self-awareness serves as the foundation for setting realistic and impactful goals.
    2. Evaluate Company Goals: What goals does your company have for the next several months or year? Understand company goals so you can ensure your efforts are contributing to company success. You should also review departmental goals to keep your objectives aligned. 
    3. Apply the SMART Method: Your goals should be well-defined and structured to guide your efforts. The SMART approach works when it comes to goal-setting, so use this framework when you set your own. This level of precision ensures that your goals are meaningful and actionable.
    4. Set Both Short-Term and Long-Term Goals: Strike a balance between short-term and long-term objectives. Short-term goals can help you make immediate improvements, while long-term goals provide a roadmap for your career progression. Both types of goals help you continuously work toward your future while addressing the immediate needs of your team and business.
    5. Seek Feedback and Collaboration: Don't hesitate to discuss your proposed performance goals with your supervisor or team members. Their input and insights can help you refine and align your goals. In addition, working with others to set goals fosters a sense of shared accountability and collaboration.
    6. Review and Adjust Goals Regularly: Performance goals are not set in stone. Review your progress — the “M” in your SMART goals — and make adjustments as needed. Sometimes, unforeseen challenges or opportunities arise that require your goals to shift. A flexible approach ensures that your goals remain relevant and effective during the entire evaluation period.

Incorporating these steps into your goal-setting process will help you develop performance goals that are both effective and a driving force behind your professional growth and success.

5 Examples of Performance Review Goals

1. Technical Literacy Goals

In today’s world, nearly every job requires a certain level of technical knowledge or technical literacy.  61% of CEOs say their business models will become more digital, underscoring the importance of technical aptitude. Depending on the role, that aptitude can range from implementing and training employees on new technologies to mastering a software program for daily use. This is increasingly important as companies move to fully remote or hybrid work environments.

Examples of technical literacy goals for various roles include:

  • Sales team members: Complete training courses when the customer relationship management (CRM) software releases new features. 
  • HR leaders: Use performance management software to create a new report for managers showing their team members’ performance review scores over the past year. 
  • Warehouse managers: Implement a new inventory management system and train warehouse staff who will be using it.

2. Certification, Training, and Professional Development Goals

Whether required or elective, certifications establish employees as industry experts, boost their earning potential, and even improve retention and engagement. 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if it invests in their careers. An employee training program would positively impact engagement for 93% of employees. These performance goals are also easily measurable and can provide insight into employee engagement and satisfaction levels. 

Professional development goals are highly dependent on roles but always set employees apart as skilled professionals:

  • HR professionals: Earn SHRM or PHR certifications — or both — by the end of 2022. 
  • Digital marketing teams: Earn Google Analytics certification or attend two digital marketing conferences in 2022.
  • Company executives: Earn an advanced degree or work with a professional diversity, equity, and inclusion coach in 2022.
Technical literacy is more important than ever with the rise of remote work and increased tech adoption: 61% of CEOs say their business will become more digital. See why @ClearCompany says #tech skills are an essential #performance goal for your employees:

Working across teams can be a challenge, but it brings big benefits to individual employees and the organization as a whole. Cross-functional teams foster connections, diversify skill sets, and provide opportunities for employees to reach better solutions. Collaboration performance goals can reveal unknown individual strengths and identify needs that help managers and employees set new goals going forward.

Here are some examples of collaboration goals:

  • Marketing team members: Set up a monthly meeting with customer service teams to gain a better understanding of customer needs and pain points. 
  • Customer service employees: Work with the sales team to establish aligned messaging when addressing common questions, complaints, and other customer needs.
  • Software engineering teams: Meet with customer-facing departments bi-monthly to ensure customer needs are the focus of new features and software updates.
  • Finance departments: Collaborate with HR teams for impactful workforce planning, including headcount forecasting and creating a budget.

3. Efficiency Goals

An employee performance goal based on efficiency is not just about time management — it’s meant to improve accuracy, reduce mistakes, and produce better results. High output combined with frequent mistakes means that it’s likely your employees would benefit from setting efficiency goals. On the other hand, consistent output and high accuracy can indicate a high-performer or high-potential employee. During review time, these performance goals indicate if an employee is eligible for a promotion or needs additional training.

Adapt these examples to your company’s needs:

  • Department heads: Identify your team members’ strengths and delegate tasks according to their expertise.
  • Foodservice managers: Give employees an assigned station for their shift, reducing the number of tasks each employee performs and decreasing mistakes.
  • Customer service leaders: Reach a 95% resolution rate for the team on customer support tickets (effectiveness of resolutions vs. number of tickets closed goal).

4. Critical Thinking Goals

Developing employees’ critical thinking skills is a key part of their overall professional development. Strong critical thinking skills make employees better problem solvers, communicators, and strategists. Critical thinkers are able to challenge existing processes, obtain leadership buy-in, and make impactful changes.

Critical thinking goals will vary depending on the role. Regardless, these work evaluation goals typically result in deeper levels of knowledge and innovative solutions:

  • Explain the various processes your team uses in very simple terms. 
  • Create a report or gather evidence to support suggestions for process changes.
  • Gather and use employee feedback to make all-staff company meetings more engaging and beneficial to every team.

5. Project Management or Completion Goals

Set project management or completion goals depending on the employee’s level in the organization. These are more straightforward productivity goals by which to assess performance and gauge the success of managers and employees. However, these performance review goals can also encompass soft skills like agility and collaboration. That provides a well-rounded picture of employees’ effectiveness and potential for future growth.

Project management and completion goals vary widely across industries:

  • Construction project managers: Complete three highway resurfacing projects on schedule during Q3.
  • HR executives: Implement a new onboarding process in Q1 and gather new employee feedback to gauge its effectiveness.

Ultimate List of Performance Review Goal Examples

In addition to the examples throughout this article, check out these 18 examples of performance review goals for you and your employees. 

  1. Improve customer service skills by taking courses. 
  2. Increase understanding of valuable clients by meeting with account managers. 
  3. Become more knowledgeable about my area of expertise by attending seminars and conferences for industry professionals. 
  4. Grow mentorship skills by acting as a mentor for a new employee on another team.
  5. Improve my public speaking and presentation skills by taking a course or workshop.
  6. Build your coaching skills by attending workshops and applying the techniques learned during employee one-on-ones and performance reviews.
  7. Become proficient at using a new software tool or expand your knowledge of existing systems.
  8. Exercise and improve active listening skills by taking notes during meetings and, afterward, summarizing what was discussed.
  9. Increase knowledge of unfamiliar departments at the organization by meeting with colleagues.
  10. Improving written communication skills by attending a writing course or workshop specific to my industry or role. 
  11. Grow strategic thinking skills by attending workshops or courses or discussing strategic thinking and planning with a mentor.
  12. Work on at least one project with [department or colleague you’d like to work with].
  13. Gain more understanding of a new product or service your company offers by attending trainings. 
  14. Develop leadership skills by working with a leadership coach and/or mentor.
  15. Enhance creativity by working on a creative project. 
  16. Improve feedback skills by researching how to give more constructive feedback.
  17. Become better at data analysis with a course or one-on-ones with a knowledgeable colleague.
  18. Improve work-life balance and model it for my team by stopping work at a set time and using vacation days.

Although these goals are not presented here as SMART goals, you can turn them into SMART goals by adding a few details. For example, if you want a better understanding of your company’s biggest clients, your SMART goal could be, “Increase understanding of [Client Name]’s account by meeting with the account manager(s) three times in the next month.” If you want to grow your conflict resolution skills, your SMART goal could be, “Complete a conflict resolution skills course within the next quarter.”

Setting measurable goals for employees and managers not only measures success — it motivates your employees toward success. Goals are a foundational part of productive performance reviews that effectively measure past accomplishments and lay the groundwork for the future.

With ClearCompany’s Performance Management tools, you can set measurable performance review goals for every employee. Get regular progress updates, provide feedback, and create records of each employee’s achievements to reference during performance reviews.

Strengthen your performance management program and support employees’ growth with better performance reviews. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered: download ClearCompany’s performance review resources to refresh your appraisal process. 

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