October 28, 2020

We’re rounding the corner, and 2021 is finally in sight. As we all may have struggled in some way over the past year, it seems hardly possible performance reviews and their ever-present companion; performance goals are focused on anything other than keeping one’s corporate and professional head above water.

But forgoing performance reviews is not the answer.

Why? Because your employees, managers, and leadership should be thinking about the future. Goal-setting, both the process and the outcomes, can help bring optimism and resilience into your organization at a time when it’s sorely needed.

Creating a plan to help employees set goals for 2021 is both empowering and strategic. Here are three ways you can help create, support, and motivate during performance review season by incorporating goals into the process.

Making #GoalSetting accessible is a manager’s responsibility. Help them to understand why goals are essential and include them in the #strategy process with these 3 simple steps from @ClearCompany:

Performance Goal-Setting Accessibility

We all want to grow in our career, but often employees don’t have the education they need to set accurate goals or even take the time to think of what those goals might be. This is especially true now. As we’ve written here, it’s an unusual performance review season and must be approached carefully within your organization.

Make goal-setting accessible by:

  • Explain your goal structure.Whether you use a systematic approach or specific software, there is usually a uniform structure to performance goals. If you use the SMART system, focus on how to build a SMART goal. If you are focused on KPIs as the basis for future goals, show them where to find that information. A reminder that SMART goals are:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant
    • Time-bound
  • Provide examples of measurable and effective performance goals. Many people can easily create goals when they see what others are doing. Not only does this complement the explanation portion, but it also gives workers a guideline to follow.
  • Show how they tie into performance reviews. Goal-setting should always be connected back to performance in general, but as you guide them through the goal-setting process during performance review season specifically, really align the two concepts and show how they build off one another. This is more crucial if you have not been using a goal-setting process.

Making goal-setting accessible is a manager’s responsibility, so work on training managers who haven’t gone through the process before. Help them to understand why it’s essential to have similar structures, what they should be measuring and shooting for with their team, and how to further explain the goal-setting process through accessibility.

Read more: Successful Employee Goal Setting and You: 7 Ideas

Creating Variety in Performance Review Goal-Setting

There are three types of goals: process, performance, and outcome goals. Process goals are specific actions or 'processes' of performing, performance goals are based on individual abilities and standards, and outcome goals are based on competition.

  • Process Goals: Here are the skills you need to improve upon or work toward.
  • Performance Goals: Here is where you should be based on your abilities and strengths.
  • Outcome Goals: Here is where you should be, compared to similar roles/team members/competitors.

While we’re focusing on performance goals, there is merit in encouraging your employees to set all three types. When employees do so, they are more likely to add specificity to their stated goals and see how their purpose aligns with the organizational mission as Robert Bacal (@rbacal), CEO at Bacal & Associates, said:

“Employees know far more about their jobs than their supervisors, in addition to wanting to be more involved in steering the direction of their jobs. No longer does it make sense for goals and objectives to be dictated by the manager. When employees are active in determining what they need to do to contribute to the company, you’ll find higher levels of employee engagement and commitment.”

You’ll also notice a pattern emerging in terms of motivation. Just like learning styles, motivation is customized to each individual. You will start to see which types of goals motivate your employees more and begin to help set micro goals and milestones they’ll respond to.

@ClearCompany analyzes 3 ways you can help create, support, and #motivate your employees during #PerformanceReview season through #goal setting discussions:

Incorporate Goals into Ongoing Performance Management

Bake accountability into the system. By explaining, guiding, and offering a variety of goal-setting options, you invite the employee to take ownership of the goals they set. You can also buy-in to their performance with the following best practices:

  • Create a game plan. After proposing solutions and timelines, ensure that someone is there to get feedback. You need to know what is behind a missed goal. There may be conflict on the team or someone sabotaging the team’s success. It could be a cultural mismatch or poor leadership. You’ll never know if you don’t work with the team to create a plan for which solution and which team members are responsible for fixing the issue.
  • Work with your managers, directors, and team leads to build parameters into your process to see when someone is struggling with their goals. Allowing flex with goal deadlines sets workers up to succeed.
  • Build trust with responsiveness. Performance management relies a great deal on members of the team being honest with one another. If your company uses 360-degree performance reviews, you’ll get a much more well-rounded picture of where the issue is when it comes to achieving goals. If you have a review system with multiple inputs throughout the entire project, you’ll get even more insight into which team members need more management and oversight than others.

Performance goals aren’t just to meet organizational standards but also to help your employees grow and develop, especially during such a difficult time. Guiding them to make decisions around the performance goals and involving them in the process creates enthusiasm for the concept and optimism about the future. Especially when you consider that 67% of employees whose managers help set performance goals are more engaged.

If you need some guidance on setting and tracking specific, measurable goals, ClearCompany’s complete Performance Management System does it all and has all of the goal-setting tips you need. Schedule a demo today to get the details from one of our experts.

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Sara Pollock
Sara Pollock
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As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent thousands of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.

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