Should I encourage my staff to set goals for the new year? If so, what guidelines should I give?

If your firm does not have a formal approach to setting goals, perhaps it should.

If your firm does not have a formal approach to setting goals, perhaps it should. Senior management should work with your HR department to establish a program designed to help people set goals, as well as measure the progress in achieving them. Goal-setting is not an arbitrary process and should begin with a candid discussion between supervisor and staffer.

There are qualitative and quantitative goals, and the latter are easier to measure. Quantitative goals might be to win one new client within a set time period or to expand the relationship with an existing client by gaining a new assignment. However, you should remind staff that while qualitative goals may be harder to measure, they are just as vital. Qualitative goals might include things like stronger participation in client meetings and improved public speaking.

A successful program needs to include a mix of quantitative and qualitative objectives. Regular checkpoints should be established through your firm's HR department to ensure that your staffer is on target and to find out if adjustments must be made due to changes in the business environment.

Steve Seeman is VP at Makovsky & Company.

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