Objective Setting

January 23, 2012 |
Objective Setting Objective SettingAll of us are human and are more orientated to better performance in all aspects of life when performance goals and objectives have been set for us. This enables to work towards something which is achievable and to measure progress along the way. Herewith below some guidelines to assist you with your work related goals and that of your subordinates to improve organisational performance.


Employee performance cannot be measured unless goals and objectives are set, preferably at the beginning of a performance cycle.  The manager is responsible for creating SMART objectives in discussions with the employee to ensure that performance expectations are established and that individual objectives are measurable and aligned with business unit and organisational goals.


 Key steps in the goal setting process.


       1.       Employee obtains company and department goals from manager


2.       Employee drafts individual objectives


3.       Manager reviews employee goals and prepares for discussion


4.       Manager and employee meet to set goals and objectives; employee updates their draft objectives as needed


5.       Employee includes objectives as part of the appraisal process


Manager’s Guide to Creating SMART Objectives


In addition to knowledge of the basic formula for establishing SMART objectives, the manager must ensure that individual goals are set collaboratively with employees and that there is alignment with business unit and company objectives.  Use the following checklist as your guide:


Manager’s Objective Setting Checklist


1.       Do these goals/objectives, taken together, align and contribute to the business unit objectives?


2.       Are there any interdependence’s?


3.       Do they map into my Business Unit objectives?


4.       Will my direct reports agree with their objectives?


5.       Do these objectives represent the most important things we need to accomplish in the next (e.g. quarter, mid-year, year etc)?


6.       Are the objectives measurable and specific such that there would be no disagreement about whether they are achieved or not?


7.       Do they help move the company toward achieving its business objectives?


Creating SMART Objectives


When planning and writing goals for the upcoming performance period, it is important to frame them using an objective formula, SMART components, and metric guidelines.


Objective Formula


Action word + key result + target date + conditions


SMART Components
Below you will find a brief explanation of what is commonly know as the SMART components to objectives setting.


S pecific


Be clear and concise.  Identify the precise activity/task/project that should occur.  Address questions such as who, what, and when. This helps avoid confusion and conflict later on in the review cycle.


M easurable


You cannot manage what you cannot measure.  Measurable objectives give you a clear indication as to whether the objectives were met or not.  It helps increase the clarity when objectives are written in quantifiable terms, with specific numbers or percentages. Objectives that involve quality need to be defined because these are more difficult to measure.


A chievable


Identify ambitious stretch goals.  However, remember that goals should be achievable and reasonable depending on the position, level and resources available.


R esults Oriented


Objectives should be written as a tangible result or deliverable that you will produce (e.g.  increase production, decrease expenses, deliver product to market) not just behaviours planned to demonstrate throughout the year.  Do not confuse efforts with results.  Individual objectives must contribute to larger objectives of the business unit or function.  If they don’t, then they probably are not the most important initiatives.


 A few basic questions to ask about the objectives to ensure alignment with business goals:


—  Do they represent growth to you and the organisation?


—  Do they enhance group/unit goals?


—  Do they reflect the priorities of the group/business unit?


—  Do they support the Manager’s goals?


T ime-bound


Objectives should have targeted project milestones and due dates to help monitor progress.  This allows course corrections and enables the employee and the manager to understand the accountability to the overall project or business unit goal.  Factor in dependencies and be ready to adjust the time line as needed based on changes in organisational priorities.

For more information or assistance on performance management please call Master Retailing to assist in managing your employees more efficiently.

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