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New Employee Work Goals: 10 Key Objectives

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Have you ever worked at a company that excited you from day one? This is the power of a successful onboarding strategy. An essential part of a successful onboarding puzzle is setting goals early on for a smooth introduction to your company and a successful start-up phase.

Our research shows that a little extra support goes a long way for a new fish in the pond. Many people prefer a well-rounded onboarding process that includes social interaction, guidance and training and cultivates a sense of purpose and belonging from the start, and setting goals can help your employees achieve this.

The ideal program provides a guided path that helps employees navigate their new role, feel like a team member, and celebrate success. And since 70% of new hires can tell whether a job is a good fit for them within the first month, the actions you take today can make a big difference in turnover rates tomorrow.

In this article, we'll look at some of the employee goals that should be part of your hiring program and how to set realistic milestones for new employees. If you're ready to improve your onboarding program and goal setting, learn how IceHrm helps companies make a better first impression with our innovative onboarding solution.

Why are work goals important for new employees?

Setting goals creates a roadmap of expectations for new employees. Well-thought-out and clear goals help new employees better understand their role, learn essential tasks and make valuable contacts within the company.

An investment in your employees is an investment in your company, and a career development program based on thoughtful goals is the foundation of a successful company. Well-thought-out goals promote employee growth and create incentives for good performance, which in turn increases company value and resilience.

10 work goals for new employees

How do you develop a goal setting strategy for your company? First, consider what is appropriate for your company or industry, as well as the type of job and seniority of each employee. The goals for new employees will not be the same for everyone. They should be carefully tailored to the role in question. For example, the goals of a marketer with 10 years of experience will be different than those of a sales representative who is just getting started.

To get you started, we've put together some examples of work goals that you can use as a basis for your program.

3 examples of performance goals for work

Performance goals focus on specific outcomes. These short-term goals are typically task-oriented and tied to metrics that are critical to evaluating an employee's performance. There are three types of performance goals:

Efficiency based goals

Efficiency-oriented goals optimize productivity. They help employees figure out how to allocate their time, resources, capital, and labor more strategically without sacrificing quality.

For example, an efficiency-based goal for a digital marketer might be to improve a campaign's ROI by 15%. Consider how you can improve an existing process to optimize performance and cultivate a more economical workforce.

Productivity-oriented goals

Production goals focus on output, on the number of units produced in a certain period of time. They help new employees learn how to perform their jobs well and support the long-term health of the company.

Think about how much a new employee can accomplish in the first week compared to week 12. An inexperienced copywriter might be tasked with creating three product descriptions per hour, gradually increasing that number to keep up with more experienced colleagues.

Sales-dependent goals

Sales-based goals emphasize financial goals. These goals are easy to track and measure and help new employees understand how their actions affect monetary value and find ways to add more value to the company.

Many companies set monthly, quarterly or annual sales goals for new and existing employees. A sales-based goal for an account manager might be to increase monthly sales by $3,000.

3 examples of development goals for work

Workplace development goals go hand in hand with performance goals and focus on long-term goals. They typically refer to the soft skills an employee needs to feel comfortable in their role and career. Here are three common development goals:

Improve existing skills

New employees come to your company with a variety of skills. Whether it's improving communication or technical expertise, this type of professional development can be a very rewarding journey that leads to greater professional fulfillment and earning potential.

Remember that skill development goals should be related to the individual's career path. For example, a software engineer may improve their skills in a particular computer program or programming language to give themselves (and your company) a competitive advantage.

Learn a new skill

Learning new skills is a great way for employees to gain more confidence on the job, mentally prepare for a new task, and become better leaders. And linking career goals to new skills can encourage employees to continue learning.

These development goals can support some of the things your employees are already doing. For example, an accountant could learn public speaking for an upcoming presentation, or a construction manager could master a new technical aspect of their work.

Preparation for professional development

Career development goals should be tied to an employee's history within your company. They can lead to increased responsibility, future promotions, and alternative paths that enhance careers in the long term.

For example, learning how to delegate work to an intern is a solid goal for any employee who wants to develop their leadership skills and prepare for future leadership roles.

4 examples of SMART goals for work

Many companies use the SMART method to create a realistic plan broken down into actionable steps.

Developed by George T. Doran in 1981, this proven system is great for setting both short- and long-term goals, tracking progress, and celebrating personal achievements. SMART goals are:

  • S: Specific
  • M: Measurable
  • A: Reachable
  • R: Relevant
  • T: Time bound

Let's use this acronym to outline the goal framework for Amalia, a new employee at a tech startup:

Specific and Measurable

Setting specific, measurable goals that lead to specific outcomes helps new employees settle into their role. Clearly defining a goal helps you create a roadmap for achieving it, and linking it to quantifiable metrics makes it easy to measure progress at a specific point in time.

Amalia's SMART goal should be something that helps her get started on the right foot. Our goal could be for her to complete three online training courses. This is a clear result that can be easily measured.


Before setting goals for new employees, ask yourself: "Are they realistic?" A key feature of the SMART goal system is that your goals are achievable. This is especially important for new employees, who will use your performance goal program to get a feel for what is expected of them in your company.

In the last example, Amalia has to complete three sessions. She may need to attend a total of 15 meetings in the first few months, but three is a realistic starting point, especially since she's also learning a lot of other things about the company as a new employee.


Relevant goals relate to the individual and their individual needs. Think about what tasks are most aligned with their role and what they will need to fill their toolbox when they start working at your company.

Aligning Amalia's SMART goals with the company's onboarding program for new employees is very relevant. Our SMART goals don't have to be added to an already busy schedule - they can help Amalia complete her initial to-do list. And her completing the training sessions is a simple request since she has to do it anyway as a new employee.

Time bound

Time-bound goals have clear endpoints. Using a specific time frame can help new hires figure out how to effectively manage their schedule and stay motivated to succeed. On the other hand, it helps the management to evaluate the performance of the employees.

For our example, let's assume your deadline is 30 days. Once Amalia reaches this point, we should be able to see if she is ahead of schedule, behind schedule, or right on schedule.

Now we have a coherent SMART goal to present to our new employee: Complete three online training courses within the first 30 days at the company. For Amalia, this can coincide with other smart goals, such as: E.g.:

  • Review the employee handbook and return the signed portion to Human Resources within their first week.
  • Read three specialist articles per week for the first three months to learn more about current industry trends.
  • Within the first month, join the culture committee, fundraising committee, or other group to get to know your colleagues better.
  • Meet with her manager quarterly to reassess her SMART goals as she grows professionally.

Implement an employee goal setting program

With an employee goal-setting program, you can ensure that new hires (and other employees!) get what they need to be successful and reach their full potential. A successful program not only provides opportunities but also space for regular feedback and recognition to sustain it.

Make it easy for new employees to get to know and navigate your company by using innovative software. From automating onboarding tasks to tracking employee performance, the right software can make all the difference in your company's talent management strategy.

Empower your new hires with structured goals from the start. With IceHrm, streamline your onboarding process and nurture talent effectively.

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