Do you ever take time to think about what kinds of goals you have at work? Does your employer encourage you to set goals for performance (e.g., SMART goals used to set objectives)? If not, goal setting within the workplace is something important to consider as it could help you to define what your priorities and values are at work. When you truly stop to consider it, your goals may not be what you had expected. Perhaps rather than hoping for a 5 out of 5 on your next performance appraisal, you actually hope to outperform others and advance through the company. Or, perhaps you hope to develop your individuals skills through rigorous learning experiences.
There are many types of goals at work that an employee can hope to attain. Learning goals, performance/outcome goals, normative goals (in which you hope to outperform your peers), mastery goals, approach success and avoid failure goals, and many more. Understanding the specific kind of goals employees hold regarding their work can help organizations understand how to better help their employees either attain these aspirations or form more productive goals.
Often times disengaged employees will form avoid failure goals in which they are just hoping to “get by.” Obviously employers would prefer employees to aspire to something more toward learning or promotion. Moreover, feeling encouraged to set one’s own goals at work allows employees to feel more in control over their jobs rather than at the mercy of others. Our most recent panel data shows that 65% of employees surveyed felt that they had some control over their work. What about the rest?
Do you establish some goals for yourself or do you primarily operate based on organizational objectives?
Grant, H., & Dweck, C. S. (2003). Clarifying achievement goals and their impact. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 541-553.