Blog·SMART Goals

October 16, 2019

Top 10 Employee Performance Goal Examples for 2020

Employee performance goal examples can not only help you with your position but can also help you develop your employability. What should you focus on in 2020?

Setting employee performance goals and objectives is a common practice in most of the organizations. We have explained the importance and best practices of setting SMART goals in our essential guide as well as we created templates to make setting employee goals easier for you and brought examples for specific industries such as marketing and nursing. With the new year just behind the corner and time for annual performance reviews we collated a list of employee performance goal examples to improve your employability in 2020.

You as an employee, should set goals aligned to the organizational objectives of the business you are working for as well as set personal development goals that will help your professional development in a long term. Goal setting can positively contribute to your employee motivation, performance in your current position and set you up for success in the future.

According to Thomas Frey, Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute; “The average person entering the workforce in 2030 will have to plan to reboot their skills eight to 10 times throughout their working life.

Considering the dynamic fast-changing nature of the society in the 21st century this may come as no surprise to you. The technological development is not only driving innovation across various industries but also redefining the workplace environment and skills employers demand.

With new year behind the corner we have decided to explore what are the essential skills in 2020 and what SMART goals you should set, in order to develop or improve these skills.

Top 10 skills for 2020

The job market is constantly changing. Based on our research, these are the fundamental skills for 2020 to develop or improve to excel in your carreer:

work skills for 2020

With that in mind, we created a list of easily measurable, time bound employee examples of performance goals to set for you;

1. Creativity

Creativity continues to gain importance for employers, and thus for you as an employee to be successful in your career. Everyone is creative to an extent and in their own ways. There are proven ways how you can improve your creativity and creative thinking. Some of them are as simple as walking, picking up a new skill or even doing nothing at all!

Creativity performance goals examples

  • Go for a 30-minute walk (not listening to music or podcasts, primarily focusing on your surroundings) 3 times a week during a lunch break or after work (alternatively walk to work) in the next 3 months.
  • Pick up a new hobby or dedicate couple of hours to a hobby you already have and love by the end of Q4.
  • Unplug and spend time away from any kind of technology during the weekend by the end of Q4.
  • Practice pattern recognition through reading detectives/studying art or math/solving sudoku for 2 hours once a week until the end of Q4.

2. Complex problem solving

Complex problem solving is closely related to your creativity as well as analytical and logical thinking. It also remains one of the skills that differentiate humans from robots. You can improve your problem-solving skills through various techniques such as focusing on a solution rather than the problem itself.

Complex problem solving goals examples

  • When struggling to solve a problem list out as many solutions as you can think of until the end of Q4.
  • Develop a step by step process used when tackling a problem using techniques such as 5 whys, language that creates possibility or asking solution-oriented questions by the end of Q4.
  • Learn how to think laterally to improve problem solving skills using articles, podcast and available materials by the end of 2019.

3. Cognitive flexibility

Cognitive flexibility is defined as “a unique cognitive ability that is linked to resilience and the ability to deal with unpredictable change.” Some people are born with better cognitive flexibility than others but do not worry. There are ways how to enhance it for everyone including self-awareness, physical exercise and changing up your routines. Physical exercise makes your body release feel-good chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, opioids, endorphins and endocannabinoids) that enable your body - and brain to learn. Additionally, changing your routines promote metal flexibility as they make your brain adapt quickly to new stimuli.

Cognitive flexibility objectives examples

  • Spend 15-30 minutes a day on self-reflection or “brain dump” to record and reflect your experiences until the end of Q4.
  • Exercise for at least 20-30 minutes 3-5 times a week until the end of 2019.
  • Change the way you commute to work-cycle, walk a different way until the end of Q4.
  • Once a week get out of your comfort zone and surround yourself with people unlike you through networking, events etc. until the end of Q4.

4. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to process emotions (both their own and other’s) and come to sound decisions based on that. It is crucial skill for collaboration and working effectively as a part of a team especially considering customer service among others.

Emotional intelligence goal examples

  • Twice a week practice self-awareness through devoting 30 minutes to self-reflection, noting down your feelings and experiences, reflecting on your behavior and how you can move from there in the next 3 months.
  • Practice active listening and paying attention to non-verbal details in communication during team meetings and one on ones in the next 3 months.
  • Improve your interpersonal and communication skills dedicating an hour to gain knowledge from books, articles, podcasts, talks etc. in the next 3 months.

5. Transdisciplinary skills

Having understanding of an organization from different perspectives and understanding the alignment between different departments is progressively imperative in businesses.

Transdisciplinary skills objectives examples

  • Every two weeks have a knowledge-sharing coffee date with a colleague from different department to understand their responsibilities and how their contribute to the overall performance of the business in next 6 months.
  • Once a month shadow a colleague from a different department for a half a day to understand their responsibilities in the next 6 months.
  • Start a monthly lunch and learn event in your company to gain better understanding of the business by the end of the month.

6. People management

Collaboration and teamwork proved to be essential for driving innovation across organizations. Whether you are an employee or a manager, being a team player and having a strong ability to motivate others is fundamental. Therefore, having strong leadership skills and communication skills is a must have in a modern work environment.

People management examples of performance goals

  • Practice empathy. Once a week take 30 minutes to put yourself in shoes of your team/direct reports and reflect on how they feel and assess your behavior until the end of Q4
  • Ensure to provide your teammates with instant feedback at least once a month until the end of Q4.
  • Reward and recognize the efforts and achievements of others. Dedicate time to once a month recognize the work of one of your colleagues over a coffee or send them an encouraging email in the next 6 months.
  • Encourage inclusive work culture through making sure to involve everyone and give everyone space to express their ideas and opinions.

7. New media and virtual communication

New media and communication channels are constantly emerging in the modern workplace. Over the past years we have seen growth in the number of remote workers, collaborative spaces and use of various communication and productivity apps such as Slack and Trello as well as video conference calls. Therefore, it is essential to be literate with these new tools and how to filter through the information and prioritize what is important.

New media and virtual communication objectives examples

  • Familiarize yourself with the various tools available in the market by the end of the month.
  • Outline all the productivity and communication tools used across your organization and ensure to gain strong understanding of them by the end of the month.
  • Organize a training for the team to improve their literacy with the tools used across the organization by the end of the quarter.

8. Cross cultural fluency

The increasingly globalized world requires cross-cultural awareness of individuals in order to communicate effectively as well as being able to work collaboratively. Being aware of your own culture as well as respect the culture of others will help you to communicate effectively and work well as a part of a team.

Cross cultural fluency employee goals examples

  • Stay focused on the goals and ensure to achieve what you aim to in this quarter.
  • Dedicate 30 minutes a week to self-reflection on your collaboration skill in next 3 months.
  • Ask for monthly/weekly feedback from your co-workers in the next 3 months.

9. Decision making skills

Having strong decision-making skills is essential for successful leaders. It is a skill that is quite difficult to develop but by being aware of your actions and actively improve your processes you can achieve significant long-term results.

Decision making examples

  • Get training in probability by the end of the month.
  • When having a difficult decision to make, focus on limiting your subjective perceptions and assess the objective factors. Practice this approach in the next 3 months.
  • In the next 3 months do not postpone any difficult decision you have to make.

10. Negotiation skills

Negotiation skills are imperative not only to sales representatives but to every individual in a business. It is a skill through which a mutual agreement in a realm of professional and personal life is achieved. Strong negotiation skills help you to improve relationships and reach common ground in case of a confrontation. Negotiation is also essential for career progression and achieving your goals. There is really no reason why you should not strike to gain strong negotiation skills.

Negotiation skills performance goals examples

  • Get a negotiation training by the end of Q4.
  • Find a negotiation skills coach in your organization or from your personal network and establish monthly/weekly meeting with them by the end of 2019.
  • Stay on top of latest practices through listening to podcast, reading books or news in the next 6 months.

employee performance goal examples

You might have realized that in the employee performance goals examples above a number of them include self-reflection. Self-awareness and reflection is a key for every individual to grow personally and professionally. It allows you to determine your strengths as well as areas you should improve. Moreover, the beauty of the skills and goals above is that they closely relate to each other. For example, improving emotional intelligence will also help you boost your decision making skills and people management. Or by improving your active listening skills you also contribute to your negotiation and people management skills. If you still crave some inspiration you can find more SMART goals examples here.

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