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13 Inspiring Examples of Developmental Goals for Employees

If you’re in the working world, you likely have goals. Your company probably developmental goals for employees and has you submit your goals for the year. On top of this, you should also have some personal goals for yourself, too.

If you are still in the early stages of your career, such as in your twenties (cough, cough) some of your goals should be about growing and developing, either at your company or in your industry. Even if you’re not in your 20s, your goal should always be to continue learning! This is where development goals come in.

Developmental Goals for Employees

What are Developmental Goals for Employees?

Developmental goals are pretty much what they sound like – achievable goals that are all about developing yourself. They’re essentially growth goals or learning goals. They are the goals that a person sets in order to better themselves, their abilities, their knowledge, and their skills.

Development goals can happen in all aspects of life, but are most typically attributed to work and career goals. These goals are meant to help people reach a higher job performance and career advancement, all in the hopes of being successful overall.

Your company or organization may have some development goals for you based on your position or how many years you’ve been at the company. If they do, that’s great!

You should take advantage of them and of any professional development opportunities they offer to get you there such as mentorship, workshops, and so on. If they do not have developmental goals for you, you really should consider creating some of your own.

Even if they do have some “mandatory” developmental goals, you may want to add some of your own, too. Who knows your goals better than you do?!

Three Main Categories of Developmental Goals for Employees

According to “Peoplebox,” there are three main categories of development goals for employees. Each category focuses on a different and important aspect of your personal growth as an employee.

  1. Skills Developmental Goals for Job-Related Function: This involves gaining and furthering the competencies that you will need to do tasks and projects directly related to your job efficiently and effectively.
  2. Leadership Development Goals: If you want to climb the corporate ladder, you are going to need some leadership development goals. These involve nurturing and furthering the traits and professional skills that you need to be a great, successful and effective leader.
  3. Personal Development Goals: Goal setting like this may be the most underrated and underestimated, but they’re just as important. These are goals that help you grow holistically, both inside work and outside of it, too.
Developmental Goals for Employees

13 Examples of Developmental Goals for Employees

Goals can be overwhelming, we know. But we also know that they’re so important. We’ve already shared with you examples of long-term career goals worth striving for and 24 goals for you to set this year.

Both of these are great places to start. But now we want to share with you some developmental goals for employees that you may want to consider adding to your goals, too.

1. Find a mentor

You probably know this by now, but when it comes to goals and reaching your goals, it’s OK to have help. In fact, it’s an excellent idea to have some help – we can’t do everything alone! Especially when it comes to learning and growing at work, having a mentor is the way to do this.

Finding a mentor can sound super intimidating, but most people are more willing than you may think. When you do find that mentor, tell them you are working on some developmental goals. They can help make sure you are on the right track and can help you in actively working towards them.

Some ways you can act on this goal is by chatting with people at your company and see who you can start a relationship with. A good idea is to arrange a meeting with them, and you can keep it casual. This will help you to see if you vibe and to learn more about their experience.

There are some questions you can ask that will help you tell if your mentor is a good fit for you. There are also some qualities that you should look out for that make a good mentor. Some university alumni databases are also a good place to look for mentors, too.

2. Be a master project manager

There will always be projects you need to manage – both internally at work and externally in life. Being an efficient and masterful project manager will get you far, both in your work life and in your real life. You will learn how to keep track of complex (and sometimes even stressful) projects. And, we know that both work and life are filled with those!

Some ways you can act on this goal is by actively participating in different project teams. If there’s a project happening at work that’s not part of your core team, as your manager if you can assist on it (assuming you have the bandwidth).

Additionally, start using and get acquainted with different project management software that is out there. There are also some project management certifications that you can look into and achieve that will help you really stand out and become an expert project manager.

Career and Professional Growth

3. Expand your professional network

You may have heard the saying that “your network is your net-worth” and it’s so true! Your professional network not only can help introduce you to new opportunities, but it will build up your personal brand and expose you to new ideas, too. It also gives you the opportunity to work on the soft skills which make networking much easier.

Expanding your network is a crucial developmental goal for employees for this very reason. Having an extensive professional network will also keep you learning continuously and meeting new people – that will continue to expose you to more and more people, ideas, and opportunities!

Some ways to act on this goal is by attending professional events, both in-person or virtually. If there is an early careers or young professional group as part of your company, take advantage of that. Many universities also have young professional groups as well, so see if yours does.

In addition to just going to events, you can find professional groups through social media. There are various professional groups on LinkedIn and Facebook that you can join and become part of the conversation it. Additionally, finding opportunities to volunteer will also help you expand your network – and will get you doing good, too!

4. Find new challenges

Why would anyone actively look for new challenges? Because they help you grow. They help you learn and develop new skills. They expose you to new people, too.

Challenges and figuring out challenges help you expand your mind and can evolve your way of thinking. Plus, finding new challenges to be part of can break up the monotony of your job. This is a great way to make your day to day a bit more exciting and you’ll find more job satisfaction.

Some ways you can act on this goal is to take on different assignments outside of your scope. Talk to your boss about if there are any different projects or opportunities they know of that you can be part of. Additionally, see if your company has any sort of internal organizations you can be part of. For example this could be ones that give back or plan internal events.

That will expose you to new people and to new challenges that are definitely outside of the scope of the ones you deal with on the daily. Some companies even have intramural clubs you can sign up for – and what better challenge is there than a competitive one!

Developmental Goals for Employees

5. Work on your weaknesses as a developmental employee goal

Everyone has weaknesses, there’s no denying that. That’s why “tell me about your weakness” is one of the most common interview questions out there. You have them, too, don’t try and deny it. Instead acknowledge it, and use it to your advantage. Work on that weakness until it becomes one of your strengths.

Some ways you can act on this goal is by asking your manager for continuous and honest feedback about your performance. During these conversations, ask them for ideas on how you can improve on any constructive criticism they are sharing with you.

If you have a mentor, you can have similar conversations with them, too. You will need to be ready to get out of your comfort zone and be extremely self-aware to achieve this goal.

6. Enhance your presentation skills

You will always need to present – both inside work and outside of it. Having the right presentation skill set can be vital to landing that sale, getting that client, or convincing your audience to see your point of view.

Presentation skills also go hand in hand with other areas of your life, both inside and outside of work, where you may need to speak in front of an audience. This is what makes it such a vital developmental goal for employees.

Some ways you can act on this goal is by going to presentation workshops and practicing. They say practice makes perfect, right? That’s no different here. Practice public speaking.

Give mock presentations to your friends and mentors. Also be sure that you are asking for feedback on how your are presenting and delivering, too. Take that feedback, work on it, and learn from it. It’ll help you grown.

Developmental Goals For Employees

7. Become an expert in a specific niche

When it comes to industries, and even specific jobs, there are certain niches and areas that encompass the entire thing. Some people are “fluent” in these niches.. and some aren’t.

Being an expert in such a specialized area can help you stand out and show the company you’re working at or interviewing for that you are an organizational “must-have.” If you are specialized in a specific niche, it makes you harder to be replaced, too.

Some ways you can act on this goal is by reaching out to and collaborating with people who already are subject matter experts in this area. You should also be actively reading all industry literature and staying on top of any trends that are happening. Continuous learning is especially key with this goal.

8. Learn about a different department

Yes, we know, we just told you to become an expert in a specific niche and now we’re telling you to learn about a different department. It can seem like an oxymoron.

But learning about a different department will exposure you to new ideas and new people. And, it will teach you even more about your industry or the company that you are working at. It also teaches you good communication skills and teaches you to cooperate with people outside your team. These are people who may have different working styles and different perspectives that you.

Think about life – you are always going to interact with people working different jobs, in different stages of life, and having different views than you. This developmental goal for an employee can really help you with life, too.

Some ways you can achieve this goal is by asking another department if you can shadow them in calls or meetings. You can also ask a couple of different people from different departments to lunch or for casual “coffee chats.” While you have these informal get-togethers, ask them about their work.

Ask them about projects they are working on, what they like most about the work they’re doing. You can even ask if there are any ways for your departments to collaborate.

You can also ask them to keep you in mind in the future if they need help on a project. Taking that on will really help expand your knowledge of another department, and help you work on your network and project management skills, too.

Developmental Goals for Employees

9. Give valuable feedback

If you want to be a manager or a leader one day, you are going need not only good leadership skills, but also know how to give feedback. This feedback shouldn’t just be wishy-washy, it should be valuable and credible. You will be guiding someone just like you are being guided now.

If you want to be an influential manager and a leader everyone looks up to, knowing how to give feedback in the right manner is key. Plus, this will just help you in the real world too, when you need to have some difficult conversations – because no matter how hard we try and run away from them, you really can’t escape them.

Some ways to go about this goal are to take courses (either in person or online courses) or read books on how to give feedback in an effective way. You also want to make sure that you are giving it in an empathetic way, too.

Additionally, if there are people in leadership roles who you admire, pay attention to how they give feedback. If you are able to, schedule time on their calendar to meet so you can learn from them even more in depth.

10. Stay updated with the latest and greatest technology

Our generation knows better than any other generation how fast technology evolves and how important it is to keep up with it and stay on top of it. The workplace has changed drastically in the past couple of decades. And, with all of advances in technology happening, this doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon.

Because of this, it’s vital that you stay up to date with the latest and greatest technology. By doing so, you’re making sure that you and your company are ahead of the competition.

You also are setting yourself apart from others, which can be key if you are in a job interview or applying to jobs. Plus, being fluent in the latest technology can streamline your workflows and make things more efficient and less time consuming.

Some ways you can go about this goal is by keeping up to date on tech articles on sites such as TechCrunch, Mashable, Technology Review, and MIT. Additionally, reach out to IT at your company to see if you can chat with them and learn more about all of the technologies currently in place at your organization.

Career and Professional Achievement

11. Enhance digital marketing skills

This can kind of go hand in hand with staying up to date with the latest and greatest technology. Even if your role has nothing to do with digital marketing… it probably actually does without you realizing it. We live in a digital age, and digital marketing is all around us.

Utilizing social media platforms like LinkedIn can make you be seen as a thought leader, helping you stand out and build your personal brand. And that’s just one example of digital marketing. Your company and your industry are probably full on in the digital marketing game, which is another reason why having these skill is a great development goal.

Some ways you can go about this developmental goal for employees are by signing up for digital marketing courses. Additionally, if there is a digital marketing team at your company, reach out to them and schedule a meeting.

Learn from them and see if there are any projects they can pull you into. You can also read digital marketing blogs and stay up to date on the latest marketing software and technology. If you talk to the digital marketing team members at your company, ask them what they use!

12. Enhance your decision making abilities

Do you hate making decisions? That’s a bad skill to have, both at work and in life. This is why enhancing your decision making abilities is a fantastic developmental goal to have.

Especially if you’re elevated into a leadership role, you will likely need to start making complex decisions quickly. You’ll need to be making them in all different scenarios, too.

All of this can be extremely overwhelming, especially for someone with minimal decision making power beforehand. This is why it’s a goal you should start from now. As you advance in emotional intelligence these decisions will also become easier to make. As we said above, practice makes perfect, right?

Some ways you can go about this specific goal is by starting off small. Start making smaller decisions both at work and in your personal life. Continue to have this decisions become bigger and bigger ones.

Additionally, this is a goal that your mentor can help you with, too. You will want to have some self-evaluation and feedback on the impact of your decisions and also how efficient and quickly you were able to make them.

Developmental Goals for Employees

13. Better your work-life balance to make progress on developmental employee goals

We hear all the time of the importance of our work-life balance. And yes, we know it’s OK to use our PTO for mental health days. We know we should be making the most of our vacation hours – and that we should actually be using them instead of letting them go to waste.

We know our personal life is more important than our work life. But all of this is still easier said than done. This is why finding a great work life balance is a good goal for most of us. It’s vital for our well-being.

Some ways to go about this goal are by harnessing your time management skills more effectively and setting clear boundaries, in a respectful manner. You can also take up a new hobby or starting doing things post-work hours as a routine. In turn, this will have you logging off or leaving work the time you should be.

Final Thoughts on Developmental Goals for Employees

There are so many different developmental goals for employees that you can set for yourself. Like we said above, your company may have some set goals they want you to achieve.

If they do, be sure to check them out and see how you can align your goals with theirs. But if they don’t you should definitely have your own developmental goals you’re working towards, too.

The above are a great place to start, but keep in mind that everyone has different priorities and things they want to achieve. Figure out what you really want to achieve in your professional life.

We know it’s cliche, but think about where you really see yourself in five years, ten years, fifteen years, twenty years. Figure out which short-term goals or long-term goals will get you there.

When it comes to setting goals, one of the hardest parts is where to start. We get that, and that’s why we have an entire page with resources dedicated to help you set smart goals, choose your specific goals, stick to your goals, and to help you get in the right mindset.

If you need some motivation to help you focus on your professional goals, here are some epic motivational quotes that will get you in the right mindset. Say these to yourself, write them in your journal, or whatever will help get you pumped for reaching your goals!

Developmental Goals of Employees
Developmental Goals of Employees

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.