As we’re closing this year, many companies are busy finalising their 2019 planning and are breaking down their objectives into actionable steps. For line managers and employees, it’s also the so often dreaded time of performance reviews. Remove the pain by making small, yet effective changes. Start setting 2019 goals that are actually meaningful for both the organisation and the employee!

Why set performance goals?

Setting performance goals in writing serves different purposes. It provides an opportunity to outline the rationale of the role within an organisational context. Millennials in particular value purpose over pay and need to understand how their role is making a difference within the company and society.

Even today, too few line managers are illustrating the interconnectedness of roles. When setting goals, the line manager should describe how a role contributes to the overall success of the team, department and organisation. This provides further clarity which, in return, will manifest the intentions to work towards these goals and provide opportunities to reflect on the progress throughout the year.

A study conducted by the Dominican University of California identified that individuals who wrote down their goals, planned actions and shared weekly progress reports accomplished significantly more than other participants. Line managers should consider a buddy system to support their team members in achieving their goals.

Line managers can reward and recognise the achievements during the continuous feedback discussions. At the same time, written goals support the accountability culture and identify performance issues early on.

Written goals also serve as a motivator. While generally set for only for a quarter or year, long-term goals can be defined as part of the organisation’s career management and mobility programmes, supporting the retention of staff.

How to set performance goals?

The traditional approaches to setting cascaded objectives are well known. Functional heads break down their area’s goals and let their direct reports further divide these goals for their respective employees. Although team goals are not very common, they can serve as a connect the dots and reemphasise the purpose of each role and team within the organisation.

Line managers and employees can still follow the SMART approach to setting goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

The goals should differentiate between job related goals (e.g. for specific tasks, projects and outcomes) and professional development goals which not only look at acquiring new skills and competencies for the current job but also for future roles.

What to do differently in 2019?

With an increased focus on performance management being the second most important initiative for CHROs, organisations are redesigning their programmes with the expected high priority.

Simplified ratings which also allow for well-rounded feedback and increased feedback frequency have already emerged this year. Continuous feedback is tied to continuous learning where companies are also placing higher emphasis on development on both job-related and personal levels.

Line managers will need to successfully transfer from just manager to also coach. Being genuine about their employees, line managers can influence the overall performance by coaching effectively. However, organisations need to invest in leadership development and upskill line managers, if they want to benefit from a 21% increase in business results and an improvement of 20% of the employee’s performance.

While some recommend to set shorter timeframes for goals, others also suggest planning for 2 years linked to the long-term strategy of the organisation. Whichever way an organisation decides to define goals, they need to be agile enough to allow for quickly taking corrective action and adjust for unanticipated changes in the business environment.

Just as line managers are part of the employee’s support group when working towards their goals, publicly announcing and tracking their progress is expected to increase an employee’s success. Line managers are therefore urged to team up employees with an accountability buddy as another source of support.

As you start your new goal setting sessions, ensure your leadership and employees are set up for success in the short and long run!

Kick start your 2019 performance management today and benefit from engaged employees. Uncertain how to align your business strategies with your current performance management? Call us on +971-52-2516322 and find out how we can create and enhance a strong performance management process fit for your organisation.