Last month, we conducted our annual employee reviews – and we want to share some tips we learned. If you want your team to contribute to your company’s success, they need to know exactly what’s expected of them – they need actionable objectives. But how do you set the right objectives?
Setting Attainable Employee Objectives
We thought about our review process, and we’ve put together some steps you can follow:
1. Review company objectives. Before you start setting goals for your employees, you need to clearly understand what your company wants to achieve in the long term. What is your mission, vision, and strategy? How does your team fit into that? How can your employees align their work with the company’s direction? If you don’t have a clear vision for that, your employees will also struggle.
2. Invite employees to participate. Setting goals should not be a one-way process. Instead, you should involve your team in the goal-setting process and encourage them to suggest their own objectives. Help them choose something they’re interested in or passionate about – this way, they’ll feel more engaged, committed and accountable for their performance. The key is finding that intersection between their passions and your business needs.
3. Use the SMART method. You’ve likely heard this one before, but it’s tried and true. An excellent way to ensure that your employee objectives are clear and actionable is to use the SMART method. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. This means that each objective should clearly describe what needs to be done, how it will be measured, whether it is realistic and achievable, how it relates to the company’s goals, and when it should be completed. If you map out these aspects, you leave nothing to interpretation; you and your team will be on the same page.
4. Track and update periodically. Setting goals is only the first step. Once you’ve got these goals, you need to regularly monitor and evaluate your employees’ progress and performance. There are many methods here – you can use dashboards, reports and feedback sessions. But remember, not everything is about numbers – try not to be too rigid. As such, you should update these objectives based on changing circumstances, priorities and opportunities.
5. Celebrate and reward success. Finally, don’t forget to acknowledge and appreciate your employees’ efforts and accomplishments when they meet or exceed their objectives. Feedback and praise are fantastic, yes, but you should include tangible rewards whenever possible – think bonuses, raises or promotions. When you reward your team, you’ll see a boost in morale, loyalty and productivity. It’s a win-win.