Join Britt Andreatta for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting employee goals, part of Management Fundamentals.
- View Offline
- A vital part of any performance management process is setting goals and tracking progress towards accomplishing them. Let's first talk about choices you have with the performance management system. One best practice in performance management is to have the system organized around cascading goals. At the top they begin with the organization's goals or objectives and then waterfall down to the department goals followed by team and employee goals. This allows each person's individual task performance and each team's performance to be measured against how it contributes to the organization's success.
Another option is to have two tracks, one that focuses on task performance and one that focuses on career or professional development. Task performance is about the actions, behaviors, and competencies needed to complete the task goal set for the year. These are directly tied to the employee's current position and job description. And they're not just to-do lists either. They can include key people skills like communication and collaboration as well as other competencies needed to do their job effectively. These discussions tie directly to the annual review process.
Career and professional development is about helping the employee move up to other positions or opportunities in the future. This may include preparing the person for management roles or helping them develop new skills that position them for parallel careers. One of the key ways to motivate and engage your people is to support their professional development. Many organizations build these discussions into the performance process, although they're separated from the annual review process and compensation decisions. No matter how your performance management process is organized, you'll use goal setting as a way to focus and direct actions and behaviors.
Let's look at some strategies you can use as a manager to help your employees with goal setting. First, I recommend using the SMART goal technique where each goal has the following five qualities. It's specific, meaning that you get clear about the details of who, what, where, and how. It's measurable, meaning that there's a clear way to see progress, it's action oriented, meaning that the employee has the ability to do something, as opposed to it being in someone else's hands, it's realistic, meaning that it can be accomplished with the time and resources available.
And finally, it's timely, meaning that it has a clearly stated deadline, possibly with smaller milestones leading up to that deadline. Using the SMART goal technique will help you and your employee clearly identify measurable behaviors that will make it so much easier for you to track progress. You can also break the large goal into small steps, applying the SMART technique to each one. This allows you to take a larger goal and see how it should move along over weeks or even months. Second, institute quarterly progress checks.
One of the mistakes that managers and employees often make is to set goals at the beginning of the year and only assess them when it's time to do the annual review. This not only makes the review process difficult as you wade back through 12 months, it also eliminates the opportunity to make course corrections. If you use the SMART goal technique, you should be able to map goals across time, shorter milestones should build to the completion of the goal. When you check in every quarter, it gives you and the employee the opportunity to see which goals are on track and which may be falling behind.
Then you can strategize solutions for getting back on track before it's too late to fix it. Third, when progress stalls, identify and remove the obstacles, it's very likely that progress will stall for each of your employees in some way. When that happens, it's important to take a closer look at what's happening because it won't do much good if you set a new deadline without addressing the source of the roadblock, for example, if your employee has too much on their plate or competing priorities, just putting this goal back on their plate will likely lead to another missed milestone down the road, or perhaps the employee needs something to accomplish the goal such as information, authority, or training, you need to provide it if you want to see progress, or it could even be emotional in nature, when people procrastinate, it's often because there's something about the task that's not compelling or motivating.
You may need to help your employee explore what's underneath their resistance so you can address it. As a manager, you'll often find that supporting your employees in achieving their goals also requires some coaching skills on your part, I certainly have. We're going to cover that in the next video. In the meantime, consider how you can utilize these strategies to help your employees set and achieve both their performance and professional development goals.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Choosing a management style
- Hiring employees
- Coaching employees
- Managing team performance
- Establishing trust
- Motivating and engaging others
- Delegating responsibilities
- Avoiding micromanagement
- Managing remote employees
- Knowing HR regulations<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.