Employees are more likely to be engaged with an organization if they feel like they’re being heard. Whether it’s through employee performance reviews or less formal meetings with a manager, employees can often be made to feel as though their thoughts and feelings about their career development don’t matter. While this may not be a manager’s intention, it’s important to recognize that this can be a significant problem in any industry. There are many ways to solve this problem, but collaborative goal setting is an effective way to engage employees and boost performance, while improving manager-employee relationships.

Measurable goals are part of what drives any business. To continue growing and developing, goals are set for all areas of an organization. Looking specifically at employee performance, it can be easy to turn performance reviews into a one-sided conversation where a manager outlines their goals for an employee. This may not be the best practice, as the employee can feel as though they aren’t allowed to have a voice in their own career development.


According to Vanderbilt University, collaborative goal setting is the process of deciding on goals together through a process that may include identifying needs, prioritizing, observation, listening, assessing and evaluating. Rather than setting goals for their employees, managers should have a conversation with each employee and decide on goals together. It is also important to allow the employee to set individual goals for themselves, and not just at the time reviews are conducted.

This flexibility gives the employee a feeling of freedom and control over the trajectory of their careers, as well as improves their relationship with their managers. It has been proven to increase employee performance by encouraging them to constantly strive for improvement in many areas of professional development.

By making goal setting a more transparent, collaborative process, it’s simpler for managers to identify employees who are consistently meeting both personal and collaborative goals, as well as those who are exceeding those expectations. This can help employers make decisions regarding succession or new leadership roles. It is also easier for employees to track their own progress so they can identify areas to improve upon in order to be considered for those larger decisions.

With the BirdDogHR Performance Management Software, it’s possible for employers, managers and employees to set goals and track their progress, making it simple to interpret employee performance. Contact us to see a demo of BirdDogHR Performance or the BirdDogHR complete talent management system and managed services.