The new year encourages us to make resolutions to improve, and it may also be a good time to set professional goals.

A new survey found that setting goals at work can translate into more success, but there are gender and generational differences.

The survey from Accountemps, a Robert Half International division, found that 93 percent of respondents believe goal setting is important to their job performances.

Setting goals may help work performance. (Photo: Waferboard, Flickr)

Fifty-one percent of people said they discuss goal progress with a manager at least monthly, but 11 percent of respondents said they never do.

Younger employees place more emphasis on work-related performance goals, the research found. Almost seven in 10 millennials—69 percent—surveyed thought goal setting was very important, compared to 55 percent of baby boomers.

Sixty percent of men, compared to 40 percent of women, said they discuss performance goals monthly.

And nearly 20 percent of female workers never bring up the topic, compared to 5 percent of their male counterparts, according to the survey.

Kevin Green with Chattanooga’s Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of staffing agency Robert Half International, said that goal setting has benefits for both individuals and companies.

It allows for feedback and communication between managers and employees, and creates the opportunity for improvement because managers can help address issues that are hindering potential, he said.

And the new year might be a good time to start setting goals, he said.

“Companies will often tie year-end bonuses to goals set at the beginning of the year,” Green said. “[That] ties everyone together—as I achieve my individual goals, I’m also helping the team achieve team goals.”

Robert Half offered the following five tips for getting on track with goal setting:

—Retreat and refocus. Goal setting is not something you can accomplish during a coffee break or in a busy office. Remove yourself from distractions to really think about your current job and desired career path.

—Get detailed. Identify a small number of goals to tackle at once. As you settle on objectives, make sure they are specific, quantifiable, realistic and timely. Always set a deadline to keep yourself on track.

—Go long, then short. Start with the destination and then work backward. Determine your long-term goals, then establish a series of smaller tasks to help you reach them.

—Enlist your manager’s help. Employers want their employees to achieve professional success and job satisfaction. Partner with your boss to set goals that align with department and company objectives, and discuss career paths and next steps during your regular meetings.

—Put them in writing. Record your goals somewhere so you can review them regularly and hold yourself accountable. This will help you stay on track and ensure the work you’re doing is aligned with your objectives.

Click here for an infographic from the recent survey.