An essential part of a successful performance review is developing meaningful performance goals for employees to achieve in the following year. This positive approach to performance development cannot be applied universally, however. Rather, one must tailor performance review goals to take into consideration the size of an organization, the variety of departments / specialties, the personality of the staff, and the organization’s culture. In this issue of Astronology, we provide helpful tips for how to develop performance goals that will be meaningful for your organization and, more importantly, your employees.
Know your System
As mentioned in a previous issue of Astronology, the most effective approach to the performance appraisal process is one that facilitates communication and professional growth. One size does not fit all. Rather, each organization’s performance review system must give consideration to the size of the organization, varying work specialties and departments, and the organization’s culture and staff. The facilitator / supervisor of an employee’s performance review must be able to comprehend how the appraisal system works, and explain it clearly to each employee. Through that process, the employee comprehends how he / she is being measured. Clear communication helps open the door for open assessment and a more productive review.
Employees expect honest feedback on their work efforts. BEFORE the performance review, review the employee’s record of employment, which should include both achievements and moments of misjudgments. Managers should reflect on their own interactions with the employees. Select the areas to highlight for the employee based on his / her strengths and noticed weaknesses, and integrate into potential performance goals for the coming year.
Recognize that Goal Developing is an Interactive Process
Although the employee expects to receive feedback both positive and negative, he / she should never feel like the performance review is one-sided. Be prepared to hear where the employee thinks she has succeeded and perhaps fallen short. Ask the employee open ended questions to get his opinions if an employee may be hesitant to share his viewpoints. When establishing future goals, allow the employee to voice where he / she would like to improve and how he / she sees that improvement coming to fruition. Managers must be willing to find areas where they can help employees become better.
Make Sure the Goals Align with Both the Organization and the Employee
Developing meaningful performance goals requires keeping in mind not only the employee’s work pace and personal goals, but also areas where the organization would like to grow within the next year. Are there areas within the organization that management would like to see further explored or developed? These organizational opportunities should be presented to the employee to determine interest in participating and associated developmental goals.
In addition, perhaps the employee sees other areas within the organization where he / she could provide value and insights during the upcoming year, for both organizational and personal growth and success. If so, these areas are another opportunity for mutually beneficial performance goals.
Make Sure to Schedule a Follow-Up
Depending on the type of goals that are set, and the organization’s frequency for performance reviews, follow-ups need to be scheduled throughout the relevant time period. Managers must ensure they schedule follow-ups when establishing new performance goals, so that employees stay on track, unanticipated resources can be allocated, and goals can be adjusted in light of previously unknown information. During the following quarter, the manager and the employee might see that goals need to be adjusted. Be flexible for success!
Developing performance goals can be an enjoyable experience for both the employee and the supervisor / reviewer. To make the most of the process, ensure that open communication permeates all discussions, and be prepared to offer insightful highlights, constructive criticism, and actionable suggestions. Through this process, both individual managers and the organization at large will surely watch the employees & the organization grow and enjoy mutually beneficial success.