In order to maximize staff loyalty while also getting the best from them you need to have solid personal development plans in place. Goal setting for teams and individual is the key to achieving this, but is also something that many managers and business owners struggle with.
Firstly, let’s explore one of the common causes of frustration: what is the difference between goals and objectives? “Goals” are relatively broad aspirational outcome statements. They are usually broad, general and descriptive in nature, describing the purpose toward which activity is directed. An example would be “Make our widget a category leader in sales revenue by year X”.
Objectives on the other hand are much more specific. They are clearly identified measurable steps to achieve goals and are usually written as a specific target that the activity is intended to accomplish. An example of an objective would be “Retain at least 70% of the North American market, according to Nielsen data”.
In reality then, what we are really talking about is helping employees and staff with “objective setting” as opposed to just goal-setting. In our performance management certification training we use three common approaches to goal and objective setting and it is worth reviewing each of these to identify the five themes that are common to each.
Managing the performance of staff is a critical activity at every company. Employees are well recognized as one of the largest costs, but also the greatest asset. For fast-growing companies, talent management and the performance of that talent is even more important. At the end of each day, much of the organizational learning walks out of the door and it is critical that it comes walking back in the following day. Once a company scales beyond the initial founding team, the stability and success of a fast-growing company is hugely dependent on staff loyalty and performance. Activities like performance management training are key to ensuring staff loyalty and motivation
Do traditional models of performance management remain relevant for fast-growth, particularly high-tech or eBusiness organizations? How might new models or adaptations of traditional models deliver more effectively?
It is debatable whether even the modern model of performance management is fit for purpose with fast-growing companies. They need to be able to adapt and change course at short notice, which means their employees objectives need to adapt at the same pace or risk misalignment. For fast-growing companies that want to achieve the “golden thread” of aligning business strategy and objectives with employee’s goals and objectives, a more fluid model is necessary. Obviously the traditional model has no hope of achieving this. While the modern-model may be more effective, it is the final “fast-growth” model that makes the best use of regular check-ins that will have the greatest impact on maximizing employee performance at rapidly growing organizations.
One model describes goals as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that need to be achieved in order for the business to realize a successful outcome. KPIs are unique to every organization so choosing the most effective KPIs is based on a clear understanding of the organization’s priorities. KPIs may be described in operational terms (e.g. achieve x outcome by y date) or in terms of general progress towards achieving the business strategy.
Another approach in performance management training is known as “Objective and Key Results” (OKRs). This is essentially a goal-setting framework that helps define goals and track outcomes. It is designed to stretch the individual in terms of achievement and should be uncomfortable and ambitious for them.
OKRs are always tightly linked with business goals and objectives, similar to the “Relevant” in the S.M.A.R.T methodology. Many organizations use OKRs to cascade objectives throughout an organization. They will start with the overall business strategic objectives, through functional and departmental objectives and onto individual objectives, thereby aligning the entire organization into unified objectives.
A key aspect of OKRs is that they are never tied to appraisals or compensation. As they are stretch goals, an organization should not consistently achieve 100% (or else the goals have not been stretching enough). As a result, it would unfair to tie compensation to them. In this regard, OKRs do not necessarily meet the “Achievable” aspect of the S.M.A.R.T methodology.
Effective goal setting is one of the most important activities with which you can help your employees. By using these key insights you can help them to achieve their true potential, while they support your organization in achieving its goals.