Performance Management - SMART Goals
V. Setting SMART goals
Setting Goals Together
Setting mutually agreeable performance goals with employees allows you and the employee to share hopes and ideas for the future. Setting goals at least annually, if not more often, will lead to higher levels of performance and more motivated employees.
Performance goals should be set with employees, not for employees. The purpose of setting goals is to give employees targets on which to focus. If the employee hasn’t participated in establishing these goals, s/he is less likely to buy into them and find them motivating. Involving employees in the goal setting process is critical.
It’s possible that an employee may not agree with a goal that you, as the supervisor, know must be met. If this happens, make sure the employee understands that performance will be evaluated next time on the degree to which the goal is met.
In the Goals section of the Employee Performance Assessment form, you and the employee list goals to increase the employee’s effectiveness. Performance goals can be based on information discussed in the rating of performance factors (Section II of the Employee Performance Assessment form), or they may come from the job description (Section I). They may also simply reflect the employee’s personal and career advancement interests.
Goals can help you and your employee in different ways. They may be:
Describing regular, ongoing activities
Reconcile Budget & Expense statements within a week of receipt from Finance Office (ongoing). Remove snow from and salt/sand walkways and building entrances at the start of each shift (ongoing).
Problem solving goals:
Describing activities designed to remedy performance areas that need improvement
Check supply inventory bi-weekly and re-order as needed to avoid shortages (starting month/date). Arrive promptly at start of shift each day to eliminate tardiness.
Describing activities that create or expand capabilities
Design and implement use of spreadsheet by (date) to track loan of departmental audiovisual resources. Research, test, and evaluate 3 new vegetarian entrees by (date).
Personal growth goals:
Describing activities the employee wants to pursue for personal development
Register for a fall introductory course to become more familiar with use of personal computers. Volunteer within next 2 months to lead a discussion at staff meeting to improve public speaking skills.
Job enrichment goals:
Expanding the current job with different activities
Within 3 months train with supervisor to assume responsibility for compiling information for quarterly activity report.
You might want to ask the employee to write down possible goals before coming to the assessment meeting. This involves the employee from the start in the goal setting process and gives him or her opportunities for job enrichment. It may also give you new information about what satisfies and motivates the employee.
Note: Goals should not involve adding duties that are beyond the employee’s current job classification or job description.
Writing Effective Goals
What makes a good goal statement? Use the "SMART" acronym.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A -- Attainable
R -- Relevant
T -- Time framed
1. Specific – Write a concise statement of the goal that tells what needs to be accomplished and when – the specific results or outcomes expected.
2. Measurable – Include in the specific goal statement the measurements to be used to determine that the results or outcomes expected have been achieved. Measurements are not necessarily quantitative.
3. Attainable – The expected results or outcomes must be within the authority, skill, and knowledge level of the employee, and the resources needed to achieve the goal must be available to the employee.
4. Relevant – The expected results or outcomes should support the department’s and/or the University’s mission and plan; and/or the results or outcomes should contribute to the department’s needs or the employee’s personal development.
5. Time framed – Deadlines for achieving expected results and outcomes should be set, not left open-ended. Deadlines can be extended when circumstances warrant, but should be re-set and monitored.
In other words, the goals you and your employee write should answer these questions:
WHAT specifically do you want to improve or accomplish?
By HOW MANY, HOW MUCH, or TO WHAT EXTENT?
The number of goals is not nearly as important as their quality. Two or three well thought out, specific goals that will have a positive impact on the employee and department can form a strong, appropriate performance plan.
Supporting and Monitoring Goal Achievement
You need to provide your employee with the assistance or resources needed to meet his or her performance goals. This might mean providing the employee with:
Equipment, material, or facilities to do the job
Additional assistance from other staff
Authorization for the employee to do the job
Coaching or training.
You can monitor performance in a number of ways:
Collect or have the employee collect performance data
Meet face-to-face to review progress
Physically check the work on a regular basis
Gather data at predetermined times.
Once performance goals are set, your job will be to continue ongoing coaching, feedback, and discussion to keep your employee’s performance on track.
Last Updated: November 2, 2006