Be S.M.A.R.T. – set objectives for your staff

By June 30, 2017Advice, Performance

As a business owner or manager, one of your main responsibilities is to get the most out of your employees. This will involve making sure they can do their job to the best of their ability, and that they have the skills to do so.

Naturally, a large part of managing employees in this way will involve keeping an eye on them. Not in a micromanagement kind of way, but by supporting them on a long term basis through setting objectives and supporting them in order to meet those objectives.

One of the most basic employee needs is to know what their objectives are. After all, how else will they know if they are doing their job correctly? Objectives are the benchmark for seeing whether they are performing well or not.

Wherever possible, objectives should be S.M.A.R.T.:

Specific – The objective should clearly explain what, why, who, where, when and how. If the objective is too vague it will be difficult to define success.

Measurable – Progress must be able to be tracked and monitored and the employee should know when they achieve the objective.

Agreed – The objective must be relevant to and agreed with all relevant stakeholders.

Realistic – The objective should be stretching, but realistic. Actions required to achieve the objective should be within the control of the employee.

Time-bound – Wherever possible, the objective should have a deadline, and the employee should be aware of when they are likely to achieve the objective. Without timescales it is easy for the objective to be left and actions delayed.

There will be some roles within the organisation where it’s not possible to define S.M.A.R.T. targets due to the nature of the role. This is usually the case with creative roles. Wherever possible, objectives should still be articulated in quantitative terms, for example meeting defined standards of accuracy or quality.

Remember that the objectives have to be clearly communicated to employees, and should ideally be created alongside them in order to boost employee engagement.

The next step is to support your employees through training and coaching.

To learn more about S.M.A.R.T. objectives and what to do next, download our free guide to managing performance:

Author David Ralph

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