Insight |

7 Employee goal setting statistics that will change how you set goals

7 Employee goal setting statistics that will change how you set goals

Insight |

7 Employee goal setting statistics that will change how you set goals

We've done the research and dug up seven employee goal-setting statistics. Do you have others? Tell us about them at

Your organization may be setting goals for employees, but this isn’t not much benefit unless everyone has the resources to track and measure success, let alone ensure those goals are actually achieved!

All too often, we see individuals setting goals using an excel spreadsheet, or writing them down in a notebook. This is a good start, but the problem with these static methods is it’s too easy to close the spreadsheet or notepad and never think about these goals again. What’s more, progress is not being tracked and leaders in the business have no visibility, or the ability to share goals to create alignment.

We’ve gathered some research on these factors and others that affect goal performance, along with tips to help update your own employee goal-setting and tracking procedures.

Ready? Let’s go.


1. Individuals are 42% more likely to achieve goals when they are physically recorded. 

Dominican University of California

As mentioned, physically recording goals is a good place to start; here comes stat #2:

2. Just writing goals down is already 42% more effective than keeping them stored in your head.

Better still, is recording goals in a way that they’re visible and can be updated with progress over time.

The problem with recording goals in a notebook or spreadsheet is they simply do not stay top of mind, nor does that offer a way for your team leader to support goal execution. This is what makes our goal management software so effective; everyone in the organization can not only set their goals, but track progress, allow team leaders to support, and see a real-time overview of their goals in their dashboard each time they log in. This way goals stay top of mind and remain a priority!

We also designed this feature with gamification techniques in mind. By making the act of tracking goal progress fun (almost addictive, even) this gives all employees extra motivation to keep coming back and working on their goals consistently over time.


3. Only one-third of senior managers can name their firm’s top priorities.

London Business School

4. 40% of managers cite failure to align as the single greatest challenge to executing company strategy.

Harvard Business Review

5. Just 16% of frontline employees have a clear understanding of their connection with corporate priorities.

Harvard Business Review

These (somewhat concerning) stats demonstrate there is often a disconnect between what individuals are working towards and what is actually required to meet organizational objectives. With this in mind, individual goals and their setting process offers a great opportunity to communicate strategic alignment and help each team member to understand how they can play a role to support organizational objectives.

When goals are managed within intelliHR, any elected members of the leadership team are able to see every single goal that has been set within the organization and who is working on it. On top of seeing the goal itself, they may also see the progress achieved so far and communicate with the goal-holder in the comments section to check-in. This can be a powerful way to identify even if a small roadblock is preventing progress, so managers can help mitigate this and get staff back on track.

Goals are not only visible but also cascadable, so the CEO can set a goal for a department manager, who can then set complementary goals for their direct reports to help the original goal reach completion. Peers can also share goals with each other when working on projects together as a team. In this way, it is so simple for everyone to have visibility over what is required, see where they fit into the big picture, and stay on track.


6. One third of managers say adapting to change will be their biggest challenge in executing company strategy in future years.

Harvard Business Review

7. Companies that set performance goals quarterly can generate 31% more returns than those reassessing annually.

Josh Bersin

With the rapid changes happening in today’s environment, organizations need to be more agile than ever. One of the first steps that can aid in maintaining agility is setting goals more frequently, to keep up with changing external factors and subsequent shifts in priority.

Not only this, but more frequent goal setting has been shown to improve revenue over time. This way, goals can stay realistic to market conditions at the time, and shorter timeframes also give staff more urgency to reach their goals on time.

To support agility, we recommend monthly continuous feedback between each manager and team member, with a focus upon supporting goal acquisition. To make this engagement richer, intelliHR’s one-click performance reporting instantly provides the team leader all the information they require to provide feedback, clear roadblocks, set training and provide additional strategic alignment. This approach supports ongoing and regular goal setting, and ensures your Performance Reviews become more forward-looking, rather than tediously looking at past events.

It’s important to consider how frequently your organization needs to be reassessing goals, to find a timeframe that works best for your needs.

Now you’ve heard the research, you know the latest employee goal setting statistics, it’s time to set some goals. We recommend setting SMART and flexible goals and we’ve put together a free Goal Setting Worksheet.


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