Back to top

Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles

Effective Goal Setting for the New Year

With a new year comes new opportunity — and that means it's time to look ahead and set intentions and objectives for the future.
But studies indicate that 80 percent of people don't achieve their New Year's resolutions, with a majority losing their steam by the end of February. How can managers and business owners best ensure that employees (and themselves) reach their goals? The key lies in setting goals effectively and in an achievable and attainable way.

Pen on pad of paper.

Why Is Goal Setting Important?

Setting goals in anticipation of the new year is more than just a time-honored tradition. The exercise can also lead to long-term consequences for businesses and employees; research indicates that organizations that practice systematic goal-setting experience a 39 percent increase in productivity. Significantly, when upper management supports goal setting, productivity can increase by 57 percent.

When goals are challenging — yet attainable — employees have a place to put their focus, the motivation to achieve desired outcomes, and the support and resources they need to get there.

The benefits of goal setting include:

  • Motivated, engaged employees that feel connected to their work
  • A shared vision that aligns, rather than duplicates effort
  • Increased accountability as employees move toward specific milestones
  • A clear way to quantify success
  • Higher retention rate

The Key: Setting Effective Goals

It's not enough to simply create goals. To create a path to success and productivity, managers and business owners must set effective goals.

But what makes a goal effective, and how can employers identify the right goals for their business? Start by considering your organization's overall strategic vision. Determining the actionable steps needed to reach those long-term objectives can inform short-term goals.

For instance, if your business' overarching objective is growing your client base by a certain percentage, your focus should be on setting short-term goals that work to help achieve your overall growth.

Start by determining the steps it'll take to get to that longer-term objective. Place these actions in chronological order, then list the resources (such as staff, knowledge, connections, equipment, funds, etc.) that you'll need for each. Organizing your goals in a logical, manageable series of steps allows you to plan effectively, and set the goals you need to be successful.

Focus on S.M.A.R.T. Goals

The George Washington University School of Business recommends taking a smart approach by implementing the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting method.

In a nutshell, successful goals are:

  • Specific: Strive for a clearly defined outcome; goals that are too general or vague don't facilitate effective planning, which then stymies execution
  • Measurable: Objectives (both end and in-process) should be identifiable in order to track progress
  • Attainable: Set realistic goals that account for available resources; too-lofty goals are a recipe for discouragement
  • Relevant: Goals must align with your business plan, mission and vision
  • Time-Bound: A set timeline drives focus and sets the stage for achievement
Obtaining employee buy-in is also key. When you're developing goals, solicit your team's feedback. Not only will you receive a different perspective on what's needed, but employees will also feel a sense of ownership that leads to improved motivation.

When employees can see exactly how their goals will support the organization's objectives, they'll have a better understanding of what's expected of them. This helps them take responsibility for their performance.

Setting effective, SMART goals directs employees' — and managers' — attention and efforts, all while boosting productivity. Having a clear objective to work toward, and measure performance against, helps your team stay focused, both in the short- and long-term.

A group of Encompass agents

Customer Centric. Agent Focused.

Our simple, tailored approach to coverage offers powerful benefits to you and your clients.

Become an Agent

The general information contained in The Encompass Blog is provided as a courtesy, and is for informational and entertainment purposes only. The contents of this website are subject to periodic change without notice. Information provided on The Encompass Blog is not intended to replace official sources. Although attempts will be made to ensure that the information is accurate and timely, the information is presented "as is" and without warranties. Information contained on The Encompass Blog should not be mistaken for professional advice. Information contained herein should not be considered error-free and should not be used as the exclusive basis for decision-making. Use of website information is strictly voluntary and at the user's sole risk. We encourage you to obtain personal advice from qualified professionals when making decision regarding your specific situation.

Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers. The Encompass Blog does not monitor all linked resources and cannot guarantee their accuracy. Statements, views and opinions included in an independent provider's material are strictly those of the author(s). These views may not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of The Encompass Blog, the Encompass family of companies or its agents, officers or employees.

ECC Monitor: OK