Setting Objectives for Your Staff

Setting objectives for your members of staff to reach is a great way to stretch them and to help them to grow and develop their careers. Encouraging them to achieve more is also great for your business. But what’s the best way to set objectives? Should they really be SMART? How do you find a suitable objective for someone who does the same thing every day or has worked for you for 20 years and needs to carry on doing the same? Do you treat new employees the same as long serving ones the same?

What is a work objective? It is a mutually understood agreement about a specific work outcome that a staff member is expected to achieve by a certain deadline. It is not a list of all the activities that member of staff should carry out.

Why set work objectives? Setting objectives allows your employees to understand exactly where their role fits within your company and what their responsibilities are. It helps them gain a better understanding of the value and contributions they bring to the company. Objectives focus on outcomes rather than activities and allow both staff and employer to measure success.

What is the right mix of goals? There are a number of different types of objectives that you can set and you need the right combination for each member of your team.

  • Essence of the job objectives – ones that clearly define tasks that are required to complete the job. These objectives should be very personalised to each individual position and employee. For a long term member of staff, these objectives may remain the same over time.
  • Project objectives – ones that your employee should pursue with a clearly defined beginning and end. New members of staff may need shorter projects when they first join the company.
  • Professional development objectives – what an employee will learn in the next six months or a year that will help their professional growth. It’s important to think beyond skill improvement and consider objectives that develop each employee and help your organization as a whole. New members of staff may meet development objectives quickly; more established members of your team may need more encouragement to think about their growth and development, if they do the same work every day over time.
  • Performance objectives – very basic, but what time your employees should start work, what they wear and how they should behave. New employees may need these goals specifically outlined when they start working for you.

Once you’ve set objectives with each member of your team, you’ll need to review them regularly, when you carry out formal appraisals or less formal ‘job chats’. Work with all your employees and you’ll be able to develop them and your company.

Want to know more about Appraisals? Come to the workshop I’m running on 11 September 2013. To book your place online, click here.