Posted by Hannah • May 19, 2016 (Last modified July 29, 2018) • 4 min read
At the center of all business achievements is one small technique that has a massive effect on everything: goal setting. Setting performance management goals is not only an art, it’s a necessity. Luckily, it is completely possible for a team of any size or industry to accomplish. Take a look at these tips if learning to set goals, is your goal…
How can an employee, department or company achieve a goal that it doesn’t know about? You may have the most achievable goals set for every single one of your employees, but if you don’t explain these goals and revisit them, chances are high they will never be reached. In fact, 69% of high performing companies rank communicating business goals as the most effective (and important) way to build a high performing team.
Read more on building a Timeless Performance Management Strategy.
Even if you already know exactly how you would like an employee’s career track to move, it’s advised that you discuss that momentum with the employee themselves. It’s important that employees are engaged in the achievement you want them to make. This may seem obvious but this basic misalignment can wreak havoc on performance. When performance management is a conversation, including the goals that help guide it, your people can see more clearly where they have a claim in their career with your organization.
You waste 30% of your capacity and performance potential when you don’t focus on your goal. That means, the goal needs to be specific. A mission statement is overarching and grandiose, but a goal is neither. If it’s possible, quantify the achievement or lay out specific deliverables that should be finished in order to be considered successful. When big hairy goals are broken down into specific commitments (and progress is continuously reviewed), the odds of hitting the mark are raised 90%.
Read more on How to Avoid Going in Circles with 360 Performance Reviews.
If you have a talented employee with skills for days, but still feel like you are managing a low performer, the goals you set forth probably aren’t relevant to the individual. For example, 93% of employees in one survey admitted that they couldn’t translate their goals into actual tasks. Obviously that will stunt the progress of any well-thought plan. Don’t end the conversation when you have a goal in mind, instead take it a step further by placing that goal within a pre-existing performance management strategy. Discuss current tasks and how they might relate or could be amended to work toward the new strategy. Allow your employees to manage the way they reach those goals, rather than setting out your plan first. When they can see how the daily tasks relate to the overall goal, employees become autonomous, which is a huge productivity bonus and engagement indicator.
Simply setting a performance management goal is not enough. More often than not, a performance management review results in some pie in the sky ideas with amazing action points to achieve them. Unfortunately, after the meeting, all the same daily tasks remain, emails continue to pile and what was once a great idea is now on a shelf collecting dust. It’s important that alongside the goal setting is an accountability plan. This can be in the form of an agreement in which the manager and employee reconvene periodically or simply a weekly update.
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Rewards and recognition work. They just do. Employees respond well when they know there is a prize at the end of the race and so they are happier to sprint for the long haul. The best part is that the reward really doesn’t have to be all that shiny. Even more, you can easily tailor performance management rewards to your company culture so you’re not only showing appreciation but also supporting that unique environment you have worked so hard to build. If you can survey employees for ideas, do so, but simply catering a meal will probably feel like a million bucks to your team.
Managing and leading employees requires a great deal of moving parts. From performance management systems to rewards and signs of appreciation, every step of an employee’s time with an organization calls for meticulous planning and guidance. At the helm of all those cogs are performance management goals. If you aren’t setting them, you aren’t hitting them.
We can’t help you set the right goals, but Trakstar can help you manage them. If you need a little guidance in setting goals in performance management, take a demo or drop us an email to see what we can do for your team.