Whether your organization has a formal performance management system, it’s always a good idea to set goals for your staff each year. Why? First, by establishing goals for employees, you are setting expectations. If you set goals that have no connection to the business objectives, your employee will struggle to see how his or her efforts support the organization’s mission.
However, performance goals are not simply about meeting metrics or driving employees to work hard. Rather, you should also include goals that go beyond an employee’s day-to-day activities and that will drive the overall enhancement to your organization. Setting performance goals helps challenge the employee and give him or her a chance to learn and develop their skills during the process. Performance goals should drive employee behaviour, challenge your staff personally, and ultimately help the business improve.
The S.M.A.R.T. Concept for Goal Setting
But how do I set goals that drive behaviour? The answer is easier than you might think. Simply make the goals S.M.A.R.T.:Â Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based. by using the S.M.A.R.T. concept you will ensure the goals you set for employees are detailed and reasonable. Let’s explore each component of S.M.A.R.T. a little further.
When setting goals for your staff, be specific in what you want them to achieve. Ensure that the targets you set are clear and easily understood. When goals are specific and detailed, it drives accountability and clearly establishes what the employee needs to achieve without the ambiguity.
The most common mistake managers make when setting goals is that we often set targets that we simply cannot measure. Not just that they are vague or non-specific, but they define targets we can’t even assess as achieved or not. Goals should be quantitative and descriptive. They can also be written to describe a degree of progress that is to be achieved. A little secret when it comes to making goals measurable: think numbers.
The goals you set for your employees must be achievable, at least within the context you set around the goal. It doesn’t mean the goals should be easy by contrast, effective goals should stretch the employee and challenge them. But still, performance goals should not be impossible for the employee to satisfy, either based on the targets set, or by the nature of the goal itself.
When setting goals for employees, make sure that the targets you establish are realistic. By realistic, it means your goal should reflect something that is practical, when compared to historical achievements. Further, to make goals realistic, they should consider things like resources, financials, available skill set and other objectives.
To make your goals S.M.A.R.T., they need to have a timeframe established. The timeframe can be a specific date, a time of year, a quarter, a month, etc. The point it to make sure that there is an end to the period when the goal should be achieved.
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