Very few companies set meaningful goals for their employees and the result is that their employees go from week to week, month to month without knowing what is expected to them. For their managers this leads to MKAD or management by keeping them at their desk. A level of managerial anxiety sets in as the manager tries and limit smoke breaks, late coming and distractions, in other words the manager's objective becomes to keep them busy at their desk.
A problem with goal setting is that most companies don't know what to expect from their employees. What is the minimum performance expectation? At what level of production are you making a profit or getting value from your employee? There is no way you can set meaningful objectives for your employees without knowing the answer to these questions. If you don't know what to expect from your employees how will they know?
4 steps to goal setting:
It follows that the first step is to determine what you expect from your employee. What do you minimally expect from them? Determine that level that if they reach it, and they are nice to have around, you will keep them.
Have a meeting with your employee. Determine their long term career aspirations. Explain to them the minimum you expect from them. Then ask them to decide what it is they would like to achieve. 99% of employees are going to opt for a level far in excess of your minimums.
Mention that their goal exceeds your minimum. Explain to them that it is their choice to go further than minimum. You are their to help them achieve this greater goal. Ask them for their permission to hold them accountable to their own new goal.
Write up and record these goals. Hold regular coaching sessions, once per week where you monitor progress towards the goal and offer solutions to problems or difficulties. Focus on the employees solving their own problems, guide them with questions and suggestions but it is always better if they solve their own problems.
If the employee is continually shooting below their goals, remind them that they asked you to hold them accountable. Should their be no improvement you need to then adjust their goal downwards. Provided their goals are above minimums then the choice to lower the goals is theirs and you need to be big enough to live with this.