5 Ways to Set a Meaningful Goal for 2024

Employees and managers are gearing up to set annual performance goals. Yet too often many of these goals are abandoned or forgotten by midyear.

The requests for year-end performance-review meetings have begun to filter into people’s email boxes. The hard part begins.

According to experts, your goal setting is only as good as your manager’s ability to oversee it. But that can take some careful maneuvering by the worker, says Alma Derricks, senior client partner at Korn Ferry. “Too often employees discuss what they’d like to accomplish in the next three to five years, it gets written down, and then it goes on a shelf,” she says.

With more than half of all employees feeling disengaged from work, according to a recent study, finding a goal that is meaningful to you and your manager is vital for fostering a sense of purpose and engagement. Here are five steps for setting a meaningful goal for 2024.

Dig deeper.

Examine how you spent your time this year. Ask yourself what you’d like to do more of, what you’d like to stop doing, and what you would like to start doing, says Ryan Frechette, a Korn Ferry Advance career coach.

If you’ve noticed projects this year that have intrigued you, consider what skills you’d need to develop to take them on, says Sharon Egilinsky, a partner in the ESG and Sustainability Solutions team and Organizational Strategy practice at Korn Ferry. If someone in your organization or industry has impressed you, think about why and how that relates to what you do, she says. “Ask your mentors what you should practice, develop, or work on to be a better team player next year,” she adds.

Think big picture.

Don’t just focus on your position. Broaden your thinking to consider the challenges your boss’s boss is facing in 2024, Derricks says. Figure out what’s happening a few levels above you and how your work intersects with it. “Otherwise, you might set a goal that takes you down a path that doesn’t lead anywhere,” she says.

Think about your unique skills and how they overlap with the company’s highest priorities. For instance, if your company is struggling with direct-to-consumer strategies—and if you have an interest in marketing, understand influencers, and shop on Instagram and TikTok—consider a goal that uses your unique perspective to help your company grow its revenue and reach, Derricks says.

Look beyond next year.

Don’t just think about the next six to 12 months; think about what you want to do in the long-term future, and what steps might help you reach that goal, says Frances Weir, a Korn Ferry Advance coach.

Determine what you want to do in your next job and deconstruct the skills and experience that will be required, Derricks says. Then clearly articulate this to your manager, making a very specific ask. It might be access to a learning opportunity or industry conference, or the ability to shadow someone in another department. “Have asks that are easy to say yes to,” she says.

Tie development goals to performance goals.

Keep in mind that many companies tie performance goals to teams and departments. The best way to get your manager to buy into your development goals is to show how they’ll help you reach your performance goals, says Korn Ferry Advance coach Sondra Levitt.

Your development goal might be improving your communication skills, Levitt says, and your performance goal might be to increase customer satisfaction by 20%. Showing your manager how both goals work hand-in-hand increases the likelihood that they’ll support your development goal, she says.

Develop metrics.

Don’t forget to include a way to measure success. Metrics could be tied to revenue and growth, or to something more qualitative, such as customer feedback and satisfaction surveys, or efficiency in resolving client issues.

Or maybe you measure success based on how you've improved your skills, expanded your knowledge, or achieved personal milestones, Egilinsky says. “There is nothing wrong with being competitive with yourself,” she says.


For more expert career advice, connect with a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.