4 Step Cycle To Improve Performance Management & Goal Setting

A performance review is always a nervous event that we all have to go through once every year. There is also a tendency to look at this as some kind of a mild corporate taboo or just another human resource formality. The event has the potential to leave staff with mixed emotions which can vary from pleasant surprises to the feeling of disruption and disappointment.

Despite following all the best practices available, you are bound to dishearten the few. Everybody in the team cannot be a star performer. In fact, expecting an amplified performance from everyone is in itself a bad start and it’s too late at the end of the year for any course correction.

There could be multiple reasons for disappointments on commercial grounds. However, a large communication gap between expectations and final results can lead the employee to look for another job after the review. Hence, it is important that we follow a fair process after consistent mutual interactions and experiments that lead to strong strategies that both the employee and the management can agree to.

How to Improve Work Performance & Set Proper Goals

Improving work performance is not an overnight process. There is no secret formula that can be universally applied to all teams. But there are some simple things we can keep in mind to keep on track of our goals and expectations from every team member.

Below are some of the steps we can follow to encourage staff to look at goals with a higher level of dedication.

1. Defining the roles and clarifying expectations

The employee should have a crystal clear idea of what his or her department is all about and what exact role he or she is going to play in achieving the ultimate team objective. Sometimes, in a hurry or due to lack of resources or overload of individual assignments, we tend to half communicate the expectations from an employee by writing unclear and vague goals without putting adequate thought to it.

In such cases, resources are left to tread their own path and understand their role in a bigger scheme of things with trial and error. Without proper goal tracking tools and in the absence of regular communication with seniors, the big picture is lost. This eventually leads to confusion in the end.

Let’s assume you are a senior support agent for your helpdesk and client queries keep you tied up the whole day. And you have been given a yearly goal to develop a new module for the client satisfaction survey. Such goals will require a serious amount of planning and time to achieve a quality result. In the absence of proper planning, the goal will eventually add more pressure on the employee, adversely affecting the overall performance.

To avoid this unpleasant scenario, roles and expectations and realistic agendas should be clarified in the beginning itself with attention to detail. This will make sure that everyone is on the same page from day one.  

2. Draft Smart Goals

We have all heard of this term before from our seniors. The goals we set for employees have to be smart. S.M.A.R.T goal is a goal-setting framework that brings your goals to life by bringing structured and measurable visibility to all your goals. It can be explained as below.

S. Specific – who, what, where, when, which and why of the goal is clarified

M. Measurable – tracking mechanisms of the progress is identified

A. Achievable – Steps are planned

R. Realistic – willingness and ability to achieve a goal is made firm

T. Timely – goals are anchored to a specific date

3. Two-Way communication with regular feedback

Once the roles and responsibilities are set and smart goals are set, we have to make sure they don’t go into a black hole only to resume to the table after a year. Targets will have to be pursued with sensible consistencies and regular feedback sessions while discussing the progress on each target.

Now that we are forced to work remotely due to the COVID-19 health crisis, communication has become more essential than ever. However, despite physical distancing, we can have more meaningful and productive meetings while working remotely.

An additional thing we can do is making monthly meetings on discussing the progress of goal a mandatory practice. This will serve as a good reminder for the team members and the manager about the importance of the whole practice and there will be a higher vigilance about achieving targets.  

4. Integrating long term goals into regular work

The crucial reason why the majority of the teams lose track of the goals no matter how smart they are is because, our yearly goals are usually tied to a big picture and stored in a separate placeholder which we don’t visit very often. Whereas our regular project and task management tools in which we spend most of our time remain oblivious to the existence of ultimate objectives you want to achieve by the end of the year.

Hence, we must link the goals with our regular work. Applications such as WorkMarshal can help you create templates and projects for yearly goals that can easily merge with your regular work schedule. This will make sure that the goals always remain in your sight. Once you have a common placeholder to store the goals, monitoring the progress on the goals is easier.

A structured and comprehensive approach of WorkMarshal provides teams with a powerful and simple interface to manage ongoing and long term work assignments including goals.

Try WorkMarshal for free and bring visibility and accuracy in executing processes, workflows, and the ever-important goals. 

About: Deepak Shirdhankar

Product Manager, WorkMarshal

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