Why scrap annual objectives?
Setting goals annually is not the best way to boost engagement and performance, in fact it could be damaging to motivation and well-being. To see the evidence of this we need only look at New Year’s resolutions. How many people say that each year they are going to eat better, read more, run every day?
And sure there are the select few who may well achieve this, but many of us will be super motivated for about a month or two and then lose motivation, or get distracted, or our resolutions no longer fit our lifestyle due to a change.
So we stop eating better, and reading more, or running every day, and because these are ‘New Year’s’ resolutions we don’t think to simply set new ones, or adapt the ones we set to fit us better. We simply wait until January 1st next year to set new goals we will follow for a month or two.
The exact same can be said for annual objectives. Many employees will walk out of their annual appraisal with their fresh new objectives and will be motivated and determined to keep up to them. But often these will soon become forgotten, or unforeseen things will take priority, or organisational objectives will shift making these goals irrelevant.
So what if instead your employees had goals and objectives they could complete in a matter of weeks?
Setting short term goals
By having short term agile goals, employees can remain better focused, and goals can be changed to adapt with the objectives of the organisation or their wider team at that time, giving the employee a clearer sense of purpose, and improving engagement.
What’s more, tracking progress against these goals gives managers a clearer idea of how their employee is performing all year round, and means they can react in real time if they see one of their employees is struggling to achieve their goals.
“Setting nearer-term objectives that could be regularly reviewed and updated suited the more agile world we were working in. This provided structure and motivation to employees who were getting used to working remotely.” – Jude Holt, Senior HR Business Partner and Talent Lead AG Barr.
How to get the most out of goal setting
Setting goals shouldn’t be a top down process in which leaders dictate what employees should be working towards. Instead the setting of goals should stem from a conversation between manager and employee, looking at what needs to be achieved and setting goals to reach this.
By getting employees involved with their goal setting they will have a better understanding of what is expected of them, why their goals are what they are, and it’s likely to make them feel more engaged with their goals than if they had been set for them.
Once a goal is set they can be further broken down into objectives, which are the steps that will go into achieving this goal. For example, if a sales person’s goal is to bring in three new customers in six weeks, their objectives could include updating their pitch deck, networking on social media, researching prospects to understand their needs etc.
These objectives can make a hard goal seem much easier to manage, and gives the employee smaller tasks to tick off on their way to achieving their larger goal. Sometimes it’s harder to see our progress if all we’re looking at is how far we are from our goals, rather than the steps we have already taken towards them.
One last thing to remember is that these goals should push your employees potential, but they need to be achievable. If goals are set too high and an employee feels they are destined for failure before they have started, or they are continually not reaching goals no matter how hard they try, their motivation will waver, their stress levels will go up and they may end up not trying anymore, or leaving their job altogether.
Checking off a short term goal is a great way to make an employee feel they have achieved something, it won’t mean as much if they haven’t had to put in some hard work, but it also shouldn’t feel like an impossible task.
Find out more
If you’d like some more information about implementing a continuous performance management solution in your organisation to aid with setting and tracking short term goals, book a demo with us today, and start saying yes to more productive employees.