About Goal Setting
- Individuals and teams perform better when they have goals.
- When performance goals are set appropriately and communicated clearly, job satisfaction increases, motivation improves, and there is increased acceptance of the performance management process.
- Goal setting consists of a series of conversations between the manager and employees that result in a plan of action and a description of the deliverables that will define success for individuals and for the workgroup.
- Translating City goals and Department business plans into goals that are meaningful for the workgroup
- Managers and individuals then draft individual performance goals that align with and support the goals of the workgroup
Conversations that result in understanding and agreement about what will be achieved, how it will be measured, and, at some level, how the work will get done.
Adopted from FYI for Performance Management by Eichinger, Ruyle and Lombardo
They are aligned with business strategies.
At each step down the line, the goals increase in specificity so they can be embraced and owned by that particular level.
There is agreement about what's to be achieved and how it's to be done.
Achieve this is through collaborative goal setting. Managers who don't trust employees to help draft goals miss an opportunity.
There is a line of sight that enables employees to see how their achievements impact the organization.
Help them to see the big picture, to have a clear view up and down and across the organization
Performance goals and development goals are often related but are different; they should be addressed independently and individualized for the performer.
Create performance goals that focus specifically on accomplishments that will impact the business. Create distinct development goals to focus on what the employee will learn. Keep these types of goals independent to make it easier to coach employees and to review and appraise their performance
Goals are grounded in reality.
- Describe achievements that are within the control of the performer.
- To the extent possible, frontline workers should not have goals that are made or broken by the actions of another department, unit or the general economy. A Department Leader, on the other hand, has a role that is expected to foresee problems and create contingency plans
- The best goals rely on performance, not on external factors.
The specifics are nailed down.
- Describe what will be achieved with enough precision that, in the end, everyone readily agrees on the outcome.
- The required level of specificity depends on the maturity, capability, and level of responsibility of the performer. (More details at lower levels, for employees with less discretion; specific outcomes but fewer details about how the goal is to be accomplished at higher levels)
The results can be readily measured.
Choose standards for which measurement methods and processes exist, for which the cost of measurement is not prohibitive, and for which there is shared understanding of the meaning
There is stretch built into performance goals to extend the employee's reach and impact.
Set the bar high, but not completely out of reach.
Results to be achieved are noted clearly in written documentation.
- Performance goals should first and foremost describe accomplishment rather than activity. Keeping busy, even doing what seem to be the right things, won't much matter if the activity doesn't lead to desired results. Businesses are rewarded for what they deliver
- Make sure the documentation is readily accessible to the performer.
There are clear time frames and deadlines stated in performance goals.
Due dates provide focus.
For additional examples of work goals, see Samples of Employee Goals.
Last updated Apr. 18, 2013