the last word
Getting the Most
SETTING GOALS IS AN IMPORTANT
BUSINESS PRACTICE TO GET THE MOST
OUT OF EMPLOYEES
GOAL SETTING: CREATING A PRODUCTIVE,
Agreeing and setting goals is essential to ensuring a productive
and driven workforce. At the corporate, team and individual lev-els,
goals help provide the direction employees need to succeed and
the metrics needed by managers to measure performance.
When done correctly, setting goals, recording results and creat-ing
development plans offer big advantages to companies looking
to improve productivity and results.
The trick is getting the right processes and tools in place. When
managers motivate employees successfully, productivity skyrock-ets
along with company growth and bottom line performance.
What’s more, effective performance appraisals allow leaders to
identify gaps and serve as the foundation for employee develop-ment.
This leads to higher-performing employees and improves
your company’s performance.
HOW DO YOU GET GOAL SETTING RIGHT?
That’s a big question, but let’s start with the basics.
There is a pretty universal standard on how to write goals ef-fectively,
which is called the SMART goal format. SMART is an
acronym that stands for: specific, measurable, achievable, role-
defined and time phased (there are slight differences by definition
around, but these are the fundamentals of a solid goal).
By adopting the SMART foundation, managers and employees
can collaboratively agree on realistic, achievable objectives, which
can then be connected to key performance indicators (KPIs).
Goals can be cascaded down from the corporate level but, often,
the most effective way to drive ownership and accountability of
goals is for the manager to have a conversation with each direct re-port
outlining key projects and initiatives that directly impact or
involve the employee’s roles and responsibilities. The direct report
would then absorb this information and propose a series of goals
for their manager to review, provide feedback and approve.
CREATING A FULL EMPLOYEE GOAL PROCESS:
COMBINING GOALS AND COMPETENCIES
Drafting and approving goals are really only the early stages;
providing progress tracking, regular updates, competencies and
development plans are essential to ensuring a full performance
HR professionals should aspire to create learning environments
to help employees understand the competencies for their role.
With new, automated performance management software
options becoming available, companies of all sizes have an oppor-tunity
to develop their performance initiatives to encompass goals,
metrics and plans.
Get the most from new performance tools by educating staff
and holding them accountable for their own goals and compe-tencies.
Employees must be able to identify and develop their
measurable knowledge, abilities and skills, which are essential for
So how can this be achieved? Important questions to ask
■■ Are your staff members assessed on competencies? If not, why?
■■ Does your organization have an established competency
■■ Have the competencies been communicated to employees and
do they understand them?
Addressing these questions and identifying what your company
needs to do will be a big driver in a successful move to a system of
clarity, ownership and accountability.
A word of warning: technology should never replace conversa-tions
but rather orchestrate the administration and paperwork to
higher levels of efficiency.
EMBRACE THE PROCESS, RESPECT THE TOOLS
AND REAP THE REWARDS
The headaches of traditional reviews can be a thing of the past.
Canadian managers in 2014 can easily rate goal achievement and
assess performance against job-specific competencies and core
company values – but goals must be set with the right foundations
and new online tools should be recognized as facilitating tools to
streamline, not replace, traditional goal setting and measurement
Jilaine Parkes is president of Sprigg Talent Management Systems.
56 ❚ OCTOBER 2014 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL