Performance and development goals work in tandem to ensure employee satisfaction, efficiency, and business growth. While performance goals define employees’ job responsibilities containing established objectives that are specific, quantifiable, and clear, development goals focus on learning and career development that encourage employees to grow professionally.
Performance goals highlight performance expectations, competency, and productive behaviors. Development goals encourage learning new skills, gaining knowledge, increasing team participation, cultivating leadership skills, and enhancing existing skills.
Performance goal setting gives employees measurable objectives, increasing engagement and performance. Understanding the value of their contribution towards organizational goals helps raise employee morale. Similarly, development goals help employees gain the skills they need to achieve their performance goals.
Investing in skill-building programs in pursuit of development goal achievement gives an organization a competitive edge in the long run. Additionally, when employee skill-development goals align with business or performance goals, it empowers growth within the organization.
According to a BetterBuy study, employees who are offered professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged and have 34% higher retention than employees who are not. Therefore, development goals help employees stay engaged and strive to achieve performance goals.
Complete clarity and understanding regarding what is to be achieved and a well-defined plan to achieve it.
Regular evaluation and progress tracking must be ensured to help employees move in the right direction and to guide employees if they are not.
Both types of goals help improve employee motivation and increase employees’ focus on specific objectives that ensure success in professional and personal life.
Defining and setting up employee goals should be a collaborative effort and follow the basic SMART guidelines.
Specific: Define clear achievements with zero ambiguity in understanding.
Measurable: Define goals that can be measured qualitatively or quantitatively.
Achievable: Ensure that goals are realistic.
Relevant: Align goals to organizational objectives.
Time-bound: Define timelines for goal achievement.
The guidelines can be made SMARTER by adding the following:
Evaluate: Regularly monitor performance to ensure progress is being made.
Readjust: Flexibly modify the plan based on real-time needs.
Specific goal measurement aspects must be defined to assess employee progress and efforts. It is important to establish KPIs that focus on improvement, such as team productivity, job satisfaction, skills gap, etc.
Use performance evaluations or tracking as a regular feedback mechanism to help employees optimize their development and growth.
The business landscape is evolving rapidly, which means that any set goals may also require modification with time.
These goals must link employee development with organizational goals and team development. Therefore, performance goals can be performance standard-related, project-based, or about process improvement. For example:
Employees can achieve the goal of increasing sales to grow company revenue by accomplishing tasks like:
Employees can accomplish tasks that help improve the popularity and visibility of the organization’s website:
Employees can foster customer loyalty and ensure high customer satisfaction by being assigned tasks like:
Employees from the marketing department can be assigned performance goals like:
Directly connected to an employee’s personal development, development goal setting can include attaining new skills, learning new things, or improving competency levels. For example:
Improving one’s capability to lead and motivate teams helps achieve developmental goals through:
For example, Mercer | Mettl’s Leadership Development helps assess employees on their leadership qualities. This assessment measures competencies according to current leadership styles, critical thinking, and business requirements.
Involves acquiring specialized knowledge and skills in a particular field and earning certification. For this development goal, employees can:
A robust professional network is an effective way to bring in new advancement opportunities for employees as well as the organization.
Counted among the most important soft skills for aspiring leaders, employees can enhance their communication skills by:
Proper goal setting and regular assessments to garner insights on employees’ progress are crucial for employee engagement and positive relations.
Mercer | Mettl provides a suite of advanced digital tools to help organizations streamline their goal-setting, assessment, and feedback processes. Organizations can choose customized solutions that encompass a battery of scientifically validated assessments perfectly suited for an organization’s individual development and business needs. The tools and research-backed assessments, cloud platform, and in-depth analytics are perfectly placed to help companies reinvent their organizational development strategies, delivering transformative results across the entire employee lifecycle.
Employee performance and development goals are beneficial to improve employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention, while also contributing towards achieving organizational goals and driving business results. Mercer | Mettl offers customizable holistic online assessments to help businesses design relevant performance and development goals, including Skills Gap Analysis, Succession Planning, High-Potential Identification, and Leadership Development.
Originally published May 15 2023, Updated May 17 2023
Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.
Performance appraisal, also known as performance review, is the process of assessing a professional’s progress, job-relevant skills and areas of development, over a set period.