From the Blog

Understanding people development goals and objectives (with examples)

Setting people development goals and objectives is a crucial leadership task that has real impacts on organisational performance. The right goals and objectives can inspire employees, lift capability and improve outputs. Alternatively, failing to set goals or a lack of clarity around goal creation can lead to team members feeling unmotivated or unsure about what’s expected of them.

So how can you:

  • set effective people development goals
  • ensure that your objectives of staff development are aligned with organisational needs
  • capture areas for growth and capability improvements
  • support your leaders
  • keep your employees motivated and engaged in goal setting?

Goals and objectives are important to get right, so let’s explore the fundamentals.


What are people development goals? 

Put simply employee development goals are the outcomes or results that your team members are working towards. Goals should:

  • inspire action
  • lift capability
  • be achievable
  • be measurable
  • align with strategic objectives.


What’s staff development? 

Staff development is the process of undertaking organisational supported training, learning and development programs to learn new skills, upskill and improve expertise. These can be through formal and informal opportunities, and on-the-job training.

The objectives of staff development are generally focused on driving individual performance and engaging employees. Staff development plans often consider individual career goals and employee ambitions – in addition to organisational priorities. Staff development plans are a great starting point for your goal setting.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that employee coaching is one of the most powerful ways to shift behaviours (and performance) at work. This is because most of what we learn at work, we learn by doing, on the job. On-the-job coaching combined with effective goal setting is a particularly good way to maximise staff development plans. It helps to keep employees motivated and on track. 


What is a good people development goal? 

Goals should be developed with, or even by, team members. Goals are much more likely to be achieved if team members are involved in the process.

Effective development goals empower employees and are easily measured and monitored. SMART goals are those that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, Time-bound.

Consider these components of well-formulated goals:

  1. Specific: What are you wanting to see change, for example is it a specific behaviour that will be demonstrated on a customer call?
  2. Measurable: The goal should be easy to measure For example, will it be self-reported by the employee in a coaching meeting or will you be observing the team member? Make sure you and your team member can determine how the team member is progressing.
  3. Achievable: Does your employee understand the goal? Is it using clear language? Making sure everyone is clear about what needs to be achieved and ensure the team member is comfortable they can achieve it.
  4. Results-Oriented: What metrics or business objectives should the behaviour drive and how will you track the performance? Every goal should clearly link to a result that needs to be achieved.
  5. Time-Bound: Ensure there is a clear “due by” date when the goal needs to be completed. Ideally, it should be no more than a week away.


Let’s explore an example of a development objective at work

A financial services company wants to retain market share. Across the organisation different teams are given KPIs including customer support.

Company vision: “Empower customers with choice.”

Company KPI: Retain 19% market share

Frontline customer support KPI: Lift to 65% customer retention

Charli has worked in the frontline team for 6 months and is keen to prove that they’re one of the top customer specialists. The team leader has observed that Charli needs to improve the conversations they’re having with customers and isn’t introducing specific talking points about products at a sufficient rate. Charli and their team leader agree that Charli is leaving it too late in conversations, so they set a goal to introduce the products earlier in conversations. They agree that Charli will make a note after each customer conversation and aim for a minimum of ten attempts. Charli will do this for a week and then have a discussion with their team leader once completed.

Charli’s objective: engage more customers in conversations about certain products to improve customer retention.

Charli’s SMART goal: Ask 10 customers each day over a 1 week period if they’ve heard of product ‘ABC’ within the first 45 seconds of a call.

Charli and their team leader will use YakTrak to record the goal and note how they’re tracking towards the goal.


Keeping your team engaged

It can be easy to get lost in day-to-day operational requirements. So how can you make sure that your team meets its KPIs or goals?

  • Make goals meaningful – help your team understand where they fit in the bigger picture.
  • Communicate KPIs and organisational objectives to your team – make sure your team knows why and how the KPIs will be achieved.
  • Track performance – track how your team is performing and support them where there are capability gaps.
  • Celebrate wins – make sure they are clear on what behaviours drove the results you are seeing. If they know which behaviour drives the right results, they will keep doing it
  • Log the goals – make sure both you and your team member have real-time visibility over goals by using a system like YakTrak.

 Chat with us to find out how you can use YakTrak to improve visibility over your employee coaching program.


Image by Hello I’m Nik from Unsplash