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Dilanka Dilanka is a Business Development Manager at IceHrm. You can contact her at dil[at]

How to Set Inspiring Team Goals: 7 Steps + 15 Examples

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Part of the role of a manager is connecting your team’s work to the broader mission of the company, and guiding them to success. Especially in the era of remote work, ensuring alignment for each team member is as important as ever.

What makes all this possible? Meaningful and attainable team goals that are aligned with both the company strategy and the individual strengths of your employees. As team leaders, you have the important task of doing the goal setting for your team. It’s your role to help establish what needs to get done with your individual team members, so they can bring their creativity and expertise to the forefront, and figure out how to get there together.

Read on to understand why team goals are important for business success, to learn the steps for setting inspiring goals for each team member, and to see some concrete examples of team goals to help guide you in your goal-setting strategy.

Why are team goals important for business success?

When employees have a clear understanding of the company strategy and how their work contributes to their team’s role in it, they form an aligned, motivated, and high-performing workforce — exactly what drives business success.

But this doesn’t just happen; it takes dedicated efforts from every level of leadership to create clarity on the mission, objectives, and each team and individual’s role in actualizing them.

Setting clear, motivating, and smart goals for your team connects their work with their organization's goals, and doing this effectively underpins every other element of your role. Team alignment supports you in coaching employees, prioritizing initiatives, strengthening collaboration, and maintaining healthy team dynamics.

7 Steps to set inspiring team goals

Whether you’re a goal-setting expert or this is your first time creating team goals, you don’t have to do it alone. This 7-step goal-setting process will guide you along the way to establishing the right goals for your team.

Step 1: Understand the business goals

It might seem obvious, but it’s essential that you and your employees have a clear and comprehensive understanding of the business goals.

Meet with your own manager to go over each team goal, then present them to your team. Remember that presenting objectives is a time to get buy-in, so complement sharing the hard numbers with motivating communications around the larger strategy and your belief in the team.

Step 2: Connect your team’s work to the business goals

Once everyone has a common understanding of the bigger picture you’re all contributing to, explore how your team’s work accounts for its own piece of the pie. Work together with your team to pinpoint where you can have the greatest impact.

Questions to ask with your team:

  • What areas of the company strategy do we see ourselves reflected in?
  • Where can we have the greatest impact as a team?
  • Which KPIs does our work contribute to directly?
  • Which KPIs does our work contribute to indirectly?
  • What sub-metrics of company KPIs is your team responsible for?

Narrowing down where to direct your collective focus helps you create clearer goals and more effectively prioritize initiatives with your team.

Step 3: Draft team OKRs

In a nutshell, OKRs (objectives and key results) are a goal-setting framework designed to help organizations align their objectives with measurable results. It's mainly used to track progress of everyone's performance while making sure the entire team is aligned and clear on how to reach each team goal.

And they're a manager's best friend when it comes to goal setting. It allows them to assign accountability and highlight how employee and team goals contribute to your organization’s growth.

It's a great idea to crosscheck your OKRs with a SMART goals checklist. So, to get started, you can come up with the first iteration of goals for your team using the SMART goal setting method to create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Curious to learn more about SMART goals? Here's the lowdown on what each part stands for:

  • Specific: What end result are you looking to achieve? Is it specifically defined?
  • Measurable: Can you measure the success of this goal with data? How will you measure it?
  • Attainable: Is this a realistic goal to set? Do you have what it takes (resources, knowledge, skills, support) to achieve success?
  • Relevant: Is this goal aligned with your team and the company’s broader objectives? Will it bring relevant value to your organization?
  • Time-bound: When do you plan to achieve this goal? Is it the right time to do so?

Step 4: Get feedback, iterate, and maintain alignment

Present your goals to your team and your manager and ask for their feedback. Tap into their knowledge and perspectives to take your goals from good to great, and make sure they really align with your team’s reality. This is also a great way to get everyone feeling inspired and motivated to achieve these goals.

Don’t be afraid to adjust when needed. Have touch-points with your team and your manager as time passes to ensure your goals still make sense. Things can shift quickly, and you want to be sure to hold down your team with a solid sense of direction.

Keeping everyone aligned means revisiting team goals and adjusting goal-setting initiatives when needed.

Step 5: Turn team goals into action

Once you’ve established your goals and aligned your team around them, it’s time to translate them into action. This is exciting, as it’s where employees get to really connect their work with the team objectives, and visualize how their projects feed into the business strategy.

Have a brainstorm session with your team to come up with ideas for how you’ll meet your goals, and decide which ones you’ll tackle together.

Team brainstorm agenda (1.5 hours):

  1. Check in with the team, get started with a fun ice breaker, and describe the purpose of the meeting. (5-10 mins)
  2. Review organizational goals and let team members ask any questions they may have. (5-10 mins)
  3. Kick off the discussion by talking about how everyone can play into their strengths and have the greatest impact. (10-15 mins)
  4. Provide a recap of previous goals, wins, and challenges. (5-10 mins)
  5. Have a team goals brainstorm and recap where everyone contributes their ideas on a whiteboard or virtual tool. (30 mins)
  6. Wrap it up and provide next steps. (5-10 mins)

Repeat this process every quarter or each time there are big shifts to your organization and team goals.

Step 6: Keep track of progress and KPIs

Have weekly or bi-weekly team meetings and have a different employee present each team's goal and whether you’re on track. Make sure everyone is well-equipped to measure progress with clear key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets, and the necessary tools to track these metrics easily.

You’ll also need a dedicated recurring moment to go over what’s in the pipeline, flag any potential roadblocks or risks, manage workloads, and prioritize together. Sometimes things seem simpler on paper, or end up getting done more quickly than expected once the right resources are put in place.

Adaptability and flexibility with timelines and workflows are essential to making sure the work gets done without compromising quality, nor overloading anyone.

Step 7: Support your team

Being a supportive leader to your team can make all the difference in helping them reach their goals. As a manager, you can prioritize empowering each employee with a sense of purpose and ownership over their goals, help them recognize opportunities, commend their efforts, and reassure them that you're always there to answer questions and provide guidance when needed.

Having a coaching leadership style is a great way to align each employee’s personal goals with the company’s goals, and ultimately boost performance and amplify employee development.

To be there for your team, it’s important to have an ongoing understanding of their reality, their challenges, and their concerns.

15 Examples of team goals

Even if you know the steps to setting effective goals, it’s sometimes hard to put this theory into action. Remember, goals don’t have to be about performance. To help you navigate your goal-setting strategy, we've put together a selection of team goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Here are 15 team goals examples that you can use:

  1. Increase month-over-month client retention from 75% to 80% by the end of the third quarter.
  2. Produce at least one project in a format we’ve never tried each quarter.
  3. Create one list of team principles to simplify remote collaboration in the next month.
  4. Obtain a qualified lead score above 30% from all lead generation initiatives this quarter.
  5. Increase team’s Relationship With Peers score by 1 point in IceHrm's employee engagement tool by the end of the month.
  6. Make a video to highlight team wins and share it with other teams in the next month.
  7. Increase traffic by 5% each month on the website home page.
  8. Reduce average request response time from 1 hour to 45 minutes in the next 3 months.
  9. Increase content velocity from 10 to 12 articles per month in the next quarter.
  10. Implement one initiative to improve recognition in the team in the next month.
  11. Plan or participate in regular team-building activities, at least once a month.
  12. Attend 2 industry conferences in the next quarter to grow the company's network.
  13. Earn a new certification for all team members by the end of the year.
  14. Gain 100 new social media followers in the next quarter.
  15. Reduce overtime by 20% by the end of the year.

Feel free to use these team goals examples as they are or tweak them so that they feel more tailored for your squad. Once they're in place, you'll gain momentum in tracking progress, checking them off, and considering them successful team goals!

What to do when goals aren’t met

This can be disappointing for everyone, especially when your team has worked really hard towards their goals. Remember that as a manager, you’re not separate from the team, but a part of it.

Now is a time to come together and use that collective brain power. Have a team retrospective to not just reflect on what blocked you, but also set action items for how you can apply these learnings and adjust your processes and work methods going forward.

Questions to reflect on with your team:

  • What blocked our success as a team?
  • Were there external factors at play?
  • Is there something we could have foreseen, but didn’t?
  • What have we learned through this experience?
  • How can we apply these learnings going forward?

You want to create a safe space where employees feel comfortable sharing their honest perspectives, so you can effectively move forward as a team. One way to facilitate this is by sending an anonymous survey where everyone can answer these questions without fear of being judged or facing conflict.

It's time to set your team up for success

To build a motivated and high-performing team, each employee should have a sense of purpose in their role, and feel that their work has meaning. This happens when everyone has a clear understanding of not only what’s expected of them, but also how it contributes to the bottom line of the team and business. Setting meaningful employee goals that align with team objectives connects team members to the bigger picture, driving employee engagement and motivation.

When team goals are clearly established and each employee understands their role in achieving them, it supports you in leading your team to success. Follow the steps in this article and refer back to them whenever needed to keep your team on track and motivated.

If you really want to master the team goal setting process, the IceHrm goal planning tool enables you to engage and empower each team member through an easy-to-follow goal-setting plan where everyone can see how they fit into the big picture, track their progress, and hit their personal goals together.

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