How to Set Team Goals at Work (With Examples and Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated October 28, 2022 | Published September 29, 2021
Updated October 28, 2022
Published September 29, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Team goals are objectives for team members to achieve collectively. Setting these goals can serve as a motivator to reach performance expectations and succeed in the workplace. If you're responsible for creating objectives for a team, it's important you learn the steps for setting goals and developing an action plan. In this article, we explain how to set team goals, provide examples of team goals, and discuss tips for ensuring your team succeeds.
How to set team goals
Here are the steps for setting goals that offer direction to a team:
1. Evaluate the company's goals
Teams make up a company, so it's important you create goals that align with those of the company. This way, your team can contribute toward broader company objectives. For example, if the company aims to increase sales by 30%, you can consider setting a team goal to learn effective sales and marketing techniques. Similarly, if the company's long-term goal is to create a collaborative work environment, you can create a goal that involves building professional relationships.
2. Develop SMART goals
SMART goals help teams track and achieve their objectives. SMART stands for:
Specific: Ensure you clearly define your team's goals. For example, the goal for a team of junior software developers may be to complete four training courses in software development.
Measurable: Make sure you can track your team's progress as team members work toward reaching the goal you set. For example, if you have a goal to complete four training courses, you can check with each teammate to determine whether their training is in progress or completed.
Achievable: Check that your team can accomplish the goals you set within the required timeframe. For example, if teammates have a background in software development, they may be able to complete four comprehensive courses in a month.
Relevant: While ensuring team productivity is essential, you also want to set goals that are important to team members and the company. For example, if there's already a software development team, you may ask data scientists in your team to take a training course that's more relevant to their field.
Time-based: Include a timeframe for your team to achieve the goals you create. For example, you can allow a software development team four months to take four training courses in the field.
Read more: SMART Goals: Objectives for Your Career
3. Develop an action plan
Creating goals is typically the first step in setting objectives for a team. You also want to have an action plan for team members to follow. An action plan outlines tasks the team needs to complete to reach the goals. For example, suppose your manufacturing team has a goal to produce 85% quality products. In this case, you can create an action plan to check for quality products and ensure standard manufacturing processes. An effective action plan also ensures that your team has the required resources to succeed.
4. Encourage individual goals
As your team works to reach its collective goals, you can also motivate team members to set individual milestones. For example, if your team's goal is to prepare financial reports for an audit, you can encourage team members to complete their reports one week in advance to allow time for reviews. Confirm that teammates also set SMART goals you can track.
Read more: How To Motivate Employees
5. Support the team with individual responsibilities
You can help your team reach goals by:
Providing advice and individual training to teammates
Scheduling personal meetings to discuss each teammate's progress, concern, or questions
Working with teammates to create individual milestones
Providing regular feedback on aspects for improvement and progress
Organizing team meetings for teammates to share insights
Supporting your team shows you care about their progress and professional development.
6. Follow up after the team completes its goal
After the deadline passes, follow up with your teammates and their work on the set goal. You want to celebrate successes by considering rewards or recognizing teammates for their efforts toward the collective goal. Doing this can motivate your team in future assignments. Alternatively, you can provide feedback on how your team can perform better and ways you can better support their efforts.
Examples of how to set team goals
Review the following examples of goals you can create for your team:
Goals to improve efficiency
Your team may aim to make better use of resources and maintain productivity. While you can set goals to improve efficiency in various settings, they are particularly common in physically tasking activities, such as production and assembly. For example, your team may want to submit marketing campaigns ahead of the deadline to gain repeat business from clients working with a strict deadline.
Goals to generate ideas
You can also have a goal to generate ideas for a project or task. Collaborating on an assignment typically leads to better results for the team. For example, you may set a team goal to generate better ways to attend to patients in a hospital. Collaborative activities can help the team learn multiple perspectives to solve a problem and allow for discussion among teammates.
Goals to build morale
You may want to improve your team by building team members' morale. For example, you may schedule team-building activities every week to offer an opportunity for interactions. Such practices can also help your team members improve their communication and interpersonal skills. Boosting morale can improve your team's satisfaction and encourage them to continue in their positions.
Goals to improve revenue
In small organizations or a larger company's marketing and sales department, your goal may be to increase revenue. This may involve cold-calling potential customers and developing marketing and sales strategies. It may also include applying methods to reduce costs.
Tips for setting team goals
Here are the best practices for setting goals for a team:
Schedule enough time for setting goals
Take your time to reflect on the team's goals before you set them. Then, evaluate where the team is currently, including previous successes. This can help you realize insights you can use to plan goals. For example, scheduling enough time for setting goals can help you identify whether your team needs additional training.
Ensure the team's goals are positive
If you're responsible for creating team goals, you want to make sure you express them positively. Positive goals focus on what the team aims to achieve instead of what to avoid. For example, you may discuss improving your team's performance instead of activities not to perform.
Visualize the result
Presenting the expected result can help your team see the benefits of reaching a goal. Doing this can help reestablish the collective objective. A clear vision can also help motivate teammates.
Review the team's goals regularly
As your team progresses with tasks, reevaluate your goals periodically. This can help you recognize new priorities or situations that might redirect the team. For example, if the company merges with another industry leader, you may need to review your team's goals. Encourage your teammates to adapt to changes in the workplace.
Accountability means taking responsibility for your actions or project outcomes. When setting goals, inspire team members to track each other's progress and support teammates experiencing challenges. This can help create a more positive work culture and foster team building.
FAQs about how to set team goals
Review the following questions and answers about creating goals for your team:
What skills can help you support a team to achieve collective goals?
Here are skills you can use to support your team:
Leadership: is the ability to direct team members toward a shared goal
Interpersonal: is the ability to interact with team members and maintain professional relationships
Critical thinking: is the ability to analyze situations objectively and develop ideas or solutions
What type of team goals can you set?
You can set short- and long-term goals. Short-term goals are objectives for a short timeframe, typically one week to a few months. In comparison, long-term goals are objectives to reach in a longer timeframe, typically a few months to over a year. Short-term team goals are typically part of your team's long-term plans. For example, a team's short-term goal may be to complete all pending tasks ahead of time. This can help the team reach its long-term goal of improving time management by 75%.
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