65 Performance Goals Examples

performance goals examples and definition, explained below

Performance goals refer to goals that are focused on a clearly-defined result or output, often known as a key performance indicator.

In achievement goal theory, we often differentiate performance goals from development or mastery goals:

  • Performance goals (also known as outcome goals): success or failure is measured by whether you reach a clearly-defined target.
  • Development goals (also known as learning goals or mastery goals): success is defined as a measure of internal progress and improvement, or how far you’ve come.

Performance goals are regularly used when setting out a project, in workplace performance reviews, and in personal performance reviews. Examples of each are outlined below.

Performance Goals Examples

1. Personal Performance Goals

  • Promotion: Obtain a promotion at work within the next 18 months by consistently exceeding performance expectations and demonstrating strong leadership skills.
  • Pay Raise: Earn a pay raise within the next 12 months by meeting or exceeding all performance expectations and taking on additional responsibilities.
  • Professional Certification: Obtain a professional certification relevant to your field within the next six months to expand your expertise and enhance your career prospects.
  • New Job: Secure a new job within your desired industry or field within the next three months by networking, submitting tailored applications, and acing interviews.
  • Financial Goals: Save a specific amount of money, such as $10,000, within the next 12 months by cutting expenses and implementing a savings plan.
  • Public Speaking: Win a debate at my toastmasters club by the end of the year.
  • Side Hustle: Launch a profitable side business or freelance career within the next year. It should earn $1000 per month.
  • Exercise: Be able to run at 7mph consistently for 30 minutes on the treadmill at the gym.
  • Language Proficiency: Achieve conversational fluency, as per the industry exam, in a new language within the next 18 months by consistently practicing and attending language classes or using language learning apps.
  • Industry Award: Win an industry award or recognition within the next two years by consistently delivering high-quality work and promoting your accomplishments.

2. Performance Goals for Managers

  • Strategic Planning: Develop and implement a strategic plan that aligns with the organization’s mission and objectives by 30 March.
  • Feedback: Provide regular, constructive feedback to team members by meeting with two team members per day for 45 days.
  • Cost Saving: Identify opportunities for cost reduction and increased efficiency in operations and processes, to be measured by $50,000 in cost savings this quarter.
  • Key Performance Indicators: Increase revenue this month by 10% compared to last month.
  • Career Advancement: Become a director in the company within 3 years.
  • Continuously improve personal leadership skills through professional development activities, such as attending workshops or reading relevant books and articles.
  • Strategic Planning: Develop and implement a strategic plan that aligns with the organization’s mission and objectives by 30 March.
  • Feedback: Provide regular, constructive feedback to team members by meeting with two team members per day for 45 days.
  • Cost Saving: Identify opportunities for cost reduction and increased efficiency in operations and processes, to be measured by $50,000 in cost savings this quarter.
  • Key Performance Indicators: Increase revenue this month by 10% compared to last month.
  • Employee Engagement: Improve employee engagement scores by 15% within the next six months through team-building activities and regular communication.

See More: Communication Goals Examples

  • Staff Development: Ensure that 80% of the team members complete a professional development course relevant to their roles within the next 12 months.
  • Time Management: Reduce meeting duration by 20% within two months by implementing efficient meeting practices and agendas.
  • Innovation: Launch a new product or service line within the next 18 months that contributes to at least 5% of the overall revenue.
  • Risk Management: Develop and implement a comprehensive risk management plan for the department within the next 90 days.
  • Talent Retention: Reduce employee turnover rate by 20% within the next year by implementing effective retention strategies, such as improved onboarding and employee recognition programs.

See More: Complete Guide on Goal Setting for Managers

3. Performance Goals for Employees

  • Decision-Making: Reduce the average time taken for decision-making by 25% in the next quarter by streamlining my decision-making process.
  • Productivity: Increase the number of daily tasks I complete by 25% by implementing the Notion productivity app.
  • Collaboration: Increase cross-departmental collaboration by initiating at least two joint projects with other team members within the next six months.
  • Career Advancement: Become a director in the company within 3 years.
  • Project Management: Complete the ongoing project within the allocated budget and timeline, with a deadline of December 31st.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Improve customer satisfaction scores by 10% within the next quarter by implementing new customer service strategies.
  • Time Management: Reduce time spent on non-essential tasks by 20% within the next two months by using the Pomodoro Technique.
  • Sales Performance: Increase monthly sales revenue by 15% within the next quarter through targeted prospecting and follow-up strategies.
  • Quality Improvement: Reduce the number of errors in my work by 30% within the next 90 days by implementing a thorough review process.
  • Learning and Development: Complete a relevant professional certification within the next 12 months to help me get a promotion.
  • Teamwork: Actively contribute to team meetings and projects, aiming for a 90% positive feedback score from teammates within the next quarter.

4. Performance Goals for Students

  • GPA Improvement: Increase my cumulative GPA by 0.5 points by the end of the next academic semester through consistent study habits and better time management.
  • Scholarship: Secure a merit-based scholarship for the upcoming academic year by maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher and participating in extracurricular activities.
  • Internship: Obtain a summer internship in my field of study by submitting applications to at least 10 companies and attending networking events by March 31st. (See also: A list of internship goals for students).
  • Research Project: Complete an independent research project by the end of the academic year, with the aim of presenting the findings at a relevant conference.
  • Study Abroad: Successfully apply for and participate in a study abroad program within the next two academic years by maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher and researching available opportunities.
  • Professional Certification: Complete a professional certification relevant to my chosen career path within the next 12 months to increase my employability.
  • Honors Thesis: Submit a high-quality honors thesis by the end of my final academic year, aiming for a grade of A or higher.
  • Networking: Attend at least three industry or alumni events within the next academic year to build professional connections and gain insights into potential career opportunities.
  • Part-time Job: Secure a part-time job related to my field of study within the next six months to gain practical experience and develop relevant skills.
  • Graduate School: Achieve a competitive GRE or GMAT score (within the top 20% of test-takers) within the next 12 months to increase my chances of being accepted into a prestigious graduate program.

5. Performance Goals for Teachers

  • Promotion: Obtain a promotion to a department head or senior teaching position within the next three years.
  • Standardized Test Improvement: Increase the class’s average standardized test scores by 10% within the next academic year through targeted instruction and test preparation strategies.
  • Professional Development: Attend at least two professional development workshops or conferences within the next 12 months and be able to place these on my resume.
  • Speed: Improve the speed with which the class completes a unit by 20% within the next semester by incorporating innovative teaching techniques and increasing homework levels.
  • Curriculum Development: Revise and update the course curriculum within the next six months to better align with current educational standards and industry best practices.
  • Parent-Teacher Communication: Strengthen communication with parents by implementing a bi-monthly newsletter and hosting two additional parent-teacher conferences within the next academic year.
  • Classroom Management: Reduce the number of classroom disruptions by 15% within the next semester by implementing clear expectations, routines, and disciplinary measures.
  • Student Performance: Increase the overall class GPA by 0.5 points within the next academic year by providing personalized support and targeted interventions for struggling students.
  • Grant Funding: Secure $5000 in grant funding for a new educational initiative or program within the next 18 months by researching opportunities and submitting at least three grant proposals.

See More: Educational Goals Examples and List of Goals for Teachers

6. Performance Goals for Nursing

  • Promotion: Obtain a promotion to a charge nurse or nurse manager position within the next three years by demonstrating strong leadership skills and consistently receiving positive evaluations.
  • Pay Raise: Earn a pay raise within the next 12 months by meeting or exceeding all performance expectations and obtaining additional certifications or training as required.
  • Patient Satisfaction: Improve patient satisfaction scores by 10% within the next six months by enhancing communication, empathy, and bedside manner.
  • Medication Administration Accuracy: Maintain a 100% accuracy rate for medication administration throughout the next year by implementing thorough double-check procedures and staying current with medication updates.
  • Patient Safety: Reduce the number of patient safety incidents by 15% within the next year by following all safety protocols and participating in safety training programs.
  • Care Plan Development: Create and implement individualized care plans for all assigned patients within 24 hours of admission, with the goal of achieving a 95% compliance rate.
  • Certification: Obtain a specialty nursing certification (e.g., critical care, oncology, or pediatrics) within the next two years to expand expertise and increase professional opportunities.
  • Infection Control: Maintain a 100% compliance rate with infection control protocols within the next year to minimize the risk of healthcare-associated infections.

Performance Goals vs Development Goals

Performance goals measure performance in the form of an outcome. Development goals measure personal progress and development.

One of the clearest definitions I have found comparing these two types of goals comes from (Kaufman, 2016, p. 118):

“Learning goals are associated with intrinsic motivation. If your goal from a task is to learn how to do something, then you are more likely to be doing it out of enjoyment or for the meaning of the activity. Performance goals are associated with extrinsic motivation. If your goal is to get a perfect final product, you are more likely to be doing this task for a reward or external value.”

Often, a development goal may look like a performance goal, but its intention is self-development rather than to achieve an outcome for the sake of status or hitting KPIs in the workplace. They’re more about personal satisfaction, such as:

  • To fluently play my favorite song on the guitar
  • To feel more confident speaking in public
  • Develop networking skills to build and maintain professional relationships

Often, due to the rationalization and ‘productization’ of work, we’re required to follow-up our development goals with performance objectives, i.e:

  • To fluently play my favorite song on the guitar … which will be measured by making less than 2 mistakes in the song by the 30th of the month.
  • To feel more confident speaking in public … which will be measured by giving a speech in front of 200 people where i don’t stumble over any words.
  • To develop networking skills … which will be measured by 15 new phone numbers of new professional contacts by 30 September.

Table Summary: Performance Goals vs Development Goals

Performance GoalsDevelopment Goals
DefinitionPerformance goals measure performance in the form of an outcome.Development goals measure personal progress and development.
Other namesOutcome goals, key performance indicators, behavioral goalsLearning goals, proess goals
Type of motivationExtrinsic motivation. Requires rewards.Intrinsic motivation. Requires inner drive.
FocusImproving outputs and profits.Progress and self-development.
ExampleTo make $100,000 by the end of the year.To be able to improve and utilize new productivity skills

Types of Performance Goals

We can also classify performance goals depending on how the goal is measured.

For example, we could measure an outcome based on quantity, quality, efficiency, or a similar metric:

  1. Quantity: These are goals related to a specific output that can be counted, such as producing a benchmark number of items or achieving a certain number of milestones within a predetermined amount of time.
  2. Quality: Quality goals are harder to measure, but can be quantified through assessment (e.g. get an A+ in my exams or GPA of 3.5). Another quality goal might be to get a certain number of 5-star reviews on an online review aggregator.
  3. Efficiency: Efficiency goals are often set by governments and big businesses to ensure companies are maintaining productivity. An example might be to reach a benchmark for number of tasks completed within an hour.
  4. Timeliness: These tend to refer to deadlines, such as “complete a task by the end of the month” or “get 7 items of work done by the end of the week).
  5. Innovation: Innovation goals encourage the development of new ideas, products, services, or processes. An example might be integrating a new technology into your workflow, creating a new product that increased productivity, or implementing a new workflow within 30 days.

Performance goals can also be classified as performance-approach goals, which define what we want to achieve, or performance-avoidance goals, which define what we want to avoid (Brophy, 2005).

How to Set Performance Goals

SMART Goals, explained below.

A key way to set performance goals is to use the SMART Goals Framework. This framework ensures your goals have clear performance indicators.

The SMART framework stands for:

  • SpecificBe clear about exactly what the performance goal is and what will be done to achieve it. Consider giving details about what, when, where, why, and how.
  • MeasurableMake sure you have a way to assess whether you have achieved your performance goal.
  • Attainable – State how you believe reaching the performance goal is within your power. It shouldn’t be too hard or too easy.
  • Relevant – State how the goal will help you to meet your overall direction in life or ‘life goals’.
  • Time-Based – You need to set a time by which you will complete your goal to keep yourself accountable and ensure you can measure whether or not you hit your outcome.

Conclusion

Performance goals are popular in an era when we obsess over outcomes and measurability. They can be motivating an the simple act of writing them down can help us focus our efforts.

But many people (e.g. Brophy, 2005) argue that development goals are more effective: these are goals that focus on processes and self-improvement, with the idea that focusing on the steps you can take for self-improvement will help you achieve bigger outcomes in the long run.

References

Brophy, J. (2005). Goal theorists should move on from performance goals. Educational psychologist40(3), 167-176.

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: An easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones. Avery.

Kaufman, J. (2016). Creativity 101. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Seijts, G. H., & Latham, G. P. (2005). Learning versus performance goals: When should each be used?. Academy of Management Perspectives19(1), 124-131.

Urdan, T., & Mestas, M. (2006). The goals behind performance goals. Journal of educational psychology98(2), 354.

Winters, D., & Latham, G. P. (1996). The Effect of Learning versus Outcome Goals on a Simple versus a Complex Task. Group & Organization Management, 21(2), 236–250. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601196212007

Zimmerman, B. J., & Schunk, D. H. (Eds.). (2017). Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: Theoretical perspectives. Routledge.

Chris
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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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