Skip to Local Navigation
Skip to Content
California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach

Tips for Setting Goals

Goals should be linked to the performance criteria, the department/division goals, and the overall University goals. Staff members are better able to achieve top performance when organizational planning, goal setting, and assessment begin at the highest levels of the organization and permeate through divisional/departmental goals to become individual goals. In this way, every individual’s performance is linked to the organization’s plans and successes.

The number of goals established should be realistic for the period covered and should be part of regular progress discussions during the upcoming review period. SMART goals follow the SMART format. They are: Specific Measurable Aggressive yet Achievable Relevant Time-bound

For each performance criterion, outcomes and results can be determined and measured. For example:

Criteria Possible Outcome
Quality Reduced number of errors
Volume of Work Increased number of documents processed
Oral Communication Reduction in the number of times people request clarification of process
Interpersonal Skills Increased student satisfaction ratings
Initiative Increased number of new projects/ideas generated

The first step in developing an outcome-focused goal is to describe the desired results as illustrated in the example above. These outcome-focused goals should then be further defined by specifically indicating the measurements that will be utilized. These measurements should address areas such as time, speed, quality, or quantity. For example, “reduced” or “increased” by how much? Over what time period will this reduction or increase occur? Additionally, how will success be determined? What evidence will be utilized to demonstrate achievement? Each of these outcomes should be further defined following the SMART model discussed previously. Focusing on outcomes and ensuring that goals are Specific, Measurable, Aggressive yet Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound increases the likelihood that the desired level of performance will be achieved.

Ongoing communication, coaching, and immediate feedback throughout the year help to set the stage for a successful Performance Evaluation discussion. As previously mentioned, prior to developing the actual Performance Evaluation, the evaluator should ensure the staff member has the opportunity to provide input, ideas, goals, and evidence related to performance. At no time should a Performance Evaluation, draft or otherwise, be shared with a staff member before the next levels of management have reviewed the evaluation. Until appropriate review, feedback, and/or approvals have been received, the Performance Evaluation is a confidential draft document and should be treated as such.

Managers should complete the university’s official goal setting sheet for new employees, and clearly communicate these goals . This sheet does not need to be completed each year for other employees. Accomplishment of goals can be addressed on the Performance Review form.

Please contact your Administrative Services Manager or Staff Human Resources should you have any questions regarding the process.
NOTE: In case of conflicts with materials covered concerning requirements of specific collective bargaining agreements, the actual labor contract prevails.