6 Reasons Why You Should Set Quarterly Goals

How often does your company set goals? As the working world increasingly transitions to a continuous performance management  model, businesses are shifting to setting quarterly, rather than annual, goals. And with good reason: Analyst Josh Bersin finds that setting goals quarterly vs. annually can net businesses 31% greater ROI from their performance management process.

We’ve boiled the argument down for you: Here are 6 ways quarterly goals make your employees, and your company, more successful.

1. Shorter-term goals are less likely to be derailed

In today’s business environment where things can change overnight, 12 months is a really, really long time. And while you should always keep your long-term goals and the big picture in mind when developing OKRs, any specifics you plan out a year in advance are likely going to change. So ironically, investing a lot of time in an action plan up front? May be a poor use of your time and resources.

The tl:dr: It’s a lot to ask employees to set goals for an entire year, especially considering company goals will change over the course of 365 days. Instead, ask employees to plan personal goals for the next quarter. This way, there’s less chance of a major company shift derailing their plans — which saves your company money in employee hours.

2. The condensed timeframe helps employees to set smart, realistic goals

If you’re familiar with SMART goals, you know the value of setting goals that are realistic. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Or, is this a valuable and realistic goal to set?

It’s tempting to sit down at the start of the new year and plan out your roadmap. But it’s difficult to grasp how long a year really is. Each person has their own perception of time, so there’s likely to be a lot of inconsistencies between individual employee goals, with some aiming too high and others too low.

So zoom in on the calendar. Have your team members think about what they can realistically achieve in three months’ time, then plan out their action steps. This makes it much easier to map out a smart (or SMART) plan that will get you to the finish line.

Want more on SMART goals? Read:
How to Write and Use SMART Goals at Work

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3. Quarterly goal-setting creates an opportunity to celebrate little wins

With annual goals, you either win or lose, so to speak, once a year. This means you’ve got just one opportunity to use goals as a motivational tool each year. And once that window closes, it’s shut for 12 months.

Instead, by setting quarterly goals, you create 4 annual opportunities to celebrate wins, encourage collaboration, and recognition. Boost this even further by making goals public and social, enabling peer-to-peer recognition, highlighting successes in company all-hands meetings, and more. Need more? Learn how regular employee recognition drives engagement.

Celebrating little wins


4. Managers get a clearer view of employee progress

When we’re stuck in the day-to-day activities of our jobs, it can be hard to see progress. But short-term quarterly goals create a natural stopping point, allowing us to check in and take stock of how far we have – or haven’t – come. Staying on top of goal achievement can help managers redirect employees who are stalling in their progress and recognize employees who are keeping their goals on track.

Having trouble meeting goals?
The 4 Secrets of OKRs That Actually Work

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5. Employees can build on their successes

Mentally, it’s much easier to tackle a series of smaller goals than it is to achieve one big one. That’s one of the great things about quarterly goals! Employees can think about what they really want to accomplish in a year’s time, and then set four smaller goals that will get them there.

If they are progressing more quickly than they originally planned, they can reach even higher with their end goal. If they’re not hitting their milestones, quarterly goals give employees a chance to adjust at different points through the year vs. having nothing to show for their work come December. (We break this down further in our Definitive Guide to Setting Goals at Work.)

6. The entire organization is empowered to think about development all year long

When goals are woven into the fabric of everyday activities, development becomes an important part of your company culture. Quarterly goal setting keeps development top of mind for employees year round. It pushes them to think strategically about their careers and what they need to accomplish their goals. It also creates an opportunity for employees and managers to talk more openly about what success looks like for them and what they need to do to get ahead.

Go for the goal with Kazoo

There’s no doubt about it: Quarterly goals can be effective at leveling up your employees – and your business’ success. And Kazoo makes it even easier.

Because at Kazoo, we’re passionate about bringing together all the tools you need to make work work better for everyone. That’s why the Kazoo Employee Experience Platform brings performance management and recognition and rewards — including Goals, Feedback, Conversations, Recognition, Incentives, and more — into one simple, easy-to-use platform.

If you’re ready to align, connect, and engage your workplace, check out our Kazoo overview. Or, schedule a personalized demo today.

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