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10 Effective Employee Development Goals in 2024

November 9, 2021
7 Min Read
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It’s no secret that business success is largely dependent on the skills and knowledge of its employees. Employees who are well-trained, motivated, and engaged will be better equipped to help your company grow. With this in mind, it’s important for businesses to establish achievable personal development goals (PDGs) for their staff. 

This article will cover the benefits of employee development goals, remote team personal development goal metrics, and how you can create your own personal development goals for different-sized businesses.

Benefits of employee development goals

Employee development training is important, but so, too, are employee development goals that drive the unique types of employee development training that personnel receives. Both are essential because they can lead to career advancement for employees and better employee satisfaction and engagement. 

And whether you’re a startup with just a handful of employees or work for an international corporation, better employee satisfaction and engagement are key to helping you retain and enrich your job force.

There are many benefits to having a defined set of employee development goals for your employees, and here are a few major ones to consider:

  • A clear focus: When you communicate understandable employee development goals to employees, tasks are completed with a clear focus and a sense of where everyone is headed developmentally. This defined path will list priorities, while also letting workers know when they should approach tasks, how much time they should allow for them, and the frequency with which to delegate these tasks.
  • Greater productivity: Employees who feel empowered and understand their career path will be more productive in their jobs since they know what is expected. Companies that invest in employee development goals through a formal plan also improve the way they operate, showing a higher rate of efficiency, increased employee morale, profitability and more.
  • Increased retention rates: Employers who provide their staff with goals that they know will help them grow professionally are likely to see increased levels of engagement and loyalty. If employees are satisfied with the work they’re doing, chances are that they will remain at their current job.
  • Better work ethic: Setting personal development goals for yourself often leads to you approaching tasks with commitment. Your vision of achieving said goals should also be the motivation behind attempting each assignment you undertake.
  • Better workplace relationships: A commitment to personal development goals often elevates relationships with your coworkers. That’s because the value of good relationships with others comes to the forefront as you work to improve yourself. During this transition, employees may view you as a role model.
  • Increased engagement: This is where employees experience a deep emotional bond to the company and its mission statement. This can be difficult for some businesses to create since it requires an understanding of your staff members' passions and structuring any relevant employee development training to meet them. However, with increased engagement, you'll generally see that employees who are engaged with their work and the company will be more productive.

Why employee development goals matter

Every company desires to hire the best and most skilled employees, yet many fail in cultivating these individuals into leaders who can contribute and add value. At the heart of it all is employee engagement, which business owners need to capture to be able to remain competitive and thrive. But what is employee engagement, exactly, and how does this factor into employee development

Smarp probably sums up employee engagement the best, saying that “in essence, employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization.” Unfortunately, one alarming statistic in a recent Gallup Poll also tells us that employee engagement is hovering around an abysmal 20%. Meanwhile, a lack of defined goals often leads to disengagement and job dissatisfaction, which can then lead to them leaving the company. 

That figure likely means that around 80% of people at your company may be looking for a reason to quit and got to work someplace else, which can potentially spell out terrible news since 63.3% of businesses of all sizes say that retaining employees is actually more challenging than hiring them. 

It's not all bad news, though, and employees who have a clear understanding of their career path are more likely to stay engaged and productive. This illustrates the importance of employee development, and fortunately there are many things employers can do to retain their talent that we'll be discussing next. 

Remote teams and personal development goals

Remote teams may face a few obstacles when it comes to setting up employee development goals, but they’re not impossible to overcome. When it comes to virtual employees, here are a few tips on how to create effective Personal Development Goal metrics: 

  • Overall: Set clear goals with defined metrics, adhere to structured timelines for evaluation periods and check-ins for teams. Also, when supervisors create cultural norms and expectations upfront for their remote teams through a formal employee development plan, it helps them visualize success and achieve it.
  • Assessment: A big part of creating your remote employee development goals is the assessment process. In short —how do you determine what they hope to achieve? Think about it from an individual perspective first before moving on to assessing the entire team. Then, take the steps to create a plan for each employee you work with and use tools like SHRM's Employee Engagement Survey or other feedback mechanisms to track their progress towards achieving those goals.
  • Informal feedback: If you’re not having regular one-on-one sessions with your employees, it will be more difficult to gauge their progress towards achieving goals. However, if they know what you expect from them and how that can help their career growth in the company, then informal feedback should suffice for a while.
  • Structure: Areas of employee development are important for your remote teams as they are for your in-person teams. And as your remote team grows and you add more employees, it will be necessary to create a structure that provides them with the guidance they need. That means implementing an employee development plan or program and holding regular meetings where you can assess their progress towards achieving what is expected from them in terms of performance and productivity.
  • Praise: It will also be necessary for managers and leaders in the company to recognize contributions made by their remote teams toward achieving personal development goal metrics. This can include praise via email or written reviews so they know where they stand at the company.

Metrics for personal development goals

Personal growth and development, either through external classes or training programs, may lead to a promotion down the road. Goal setting metrics enhance these personal development efforts and aiming for them will help employees grow in their specific roles, while also being able to see how they’re progressing towards becoming leaders within their company at some point.

While a team may have the same department or job titles, each employee will have his own set of personal development goals. These should be specific to them and their strengths and weaknesses—as well as what they want to achieve in working for your company. 

10 goal setting metrics

It is important to create personal development goals for your employees because these will help them grow in their specific roles at the company and eventually become leaders within it. Metrics can help with this, and they are key performance indicators (KPIs) that help track performance in relation to how employees and the company are doing when it comes to PDGs. 

These KPIs are vital to enhancing the skills and professional goals of your employees and providing them with ways to maximize their career potential. These types of metrics are also useful when they’re looking for growth or opportunities in other departments, as this can show how they have contributed to the company’s overall success.

A few personalized goal metrics that you can adapt to any company for EDG include:

  1. New hire onboarding: This metric begins before a candidate is hired. During interviews, use a standardized onboarding checklist to evaluate candidates regarding their drive for moving up the ladder and their future potential. Questions to ask should determine factors such as if they care about what they will be doing or elicit trust.
  2. Employee training & development: This metric is primarily used to measure the effectiveness of training programs by evaluating whether or not they are helping employees achieve their goals.
  3. Employee engagement: This metric shows how likely your employees will be to give it all for you and go beyond what is expected from them. And if they’re satisfied with their position at work, then chances are they will work hard at helping the company achieve its objectives.
  4. Individual employee goals: With KPIs, you will be able to see how individuals are doing with regard to their personal development goals. When it comes to developing your employees — and ensuring they have what they need for success — having a good set of KPIs is necessary and can help monitor performance so you know exactly where each employee is at in this regard.
  5. Employee performance: This metric is important to track if you want to know how well employees are performing and whether or not they’re meeting their PDGs, as this should be reflected in their work results.
  6. Increased employee efficiency & productivity: This is another important metric to track because it shows how well employees are doing when it comes to their jobs. It also speaks volumes about whether or not they’re achieving what was expected of them in terms of performance, which will tell you if they’re on the right path toward developing themselves within your company.
  7. Peer reviews: These metrics are essential to monitor because you will be able to see how your employees are doing with regards to their PDGs. If they’re not meeting the set goals, then this is something that should really be addressed. On top of reviewing an employee's performance and evaluating their current progress, it would also help if you talked to them about their future potential and the ways in which they can achieve it.
  8. Company goals & objectives: These metrics should support what you want for your company. It’s critical to ensure that your employees are on track with helping you achieve these goals so they can meet their own objectives as well.
  9. Task completion vs. hours worked: This metric can tell you how well employees are doing at achieving their goals and making the most of what they”re given.
  10. Exit interviews: These provide information about what caused certain employees to leave the company, but they can also show how effective your employee development goals are.

Personal development goals for small/medium/large businesses

Personal development goal metrics you can use for any sized business, although they may need to be individualized a little, are as follows:

  • Small Businesses: Small businesses may not have the resources to hire an employee who is solely tasked with personal development goals. Instead, the management team or human resources can work on this part-time. There are also many companies that you can outsource core training and personal development goals if you are looking to shrink or stabilize the budget.
  • Medium-Sized Businesses: Businesses that are medium-sized should aim to create an employee development plan or program that has goals in place for employees who are currently performing well, as well as those who may need more guidance.
  • Large Businesses: Bigger organizations should review their existing programs and see how they can be improved upon so there is better alignment across the board when it comes to performance expectations between managers and teams/departments.

Next steps and key takeaways

Here are some next steps and key takeaways for improving your employee development goals:

  • Employee development goals track how employees are performing and growing, while metrics help determine if these PDGs reflect your company’s overall business objectives. 
  • Once you decide it is time to implement metrics, it is time for you to hold a meeting with your employees to go over the EDG and metrics you will be using. This way, they can take ownership of their own development goals and push themselves to improve in the areas that matter most for them personally.
  • After establishing key performance indicators, they will need to be monitored regularly to track each employee's personal growth and progress towards their specific EDG and for reporting. 

If you would like to know more about how employee development goals can be used to benefit your company, be sure to check out Matter's helpful tips about what goes into effective employee development programs and more on our blog.

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