The SMART framework has long been used by managers for effective goal setting in performance appraisals. Even better is our version - SMARTA – the A being essential for staff buy-in of the objectives you set. An appraisal would be nothing without objective setting, and each of these needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Trackable and Agreed with the individual.
In each appraisal you’ll come up with several objectives covering some or all of project/task objectives, performance improvements and personal development goals. Each of these should be considered with SMARTA in mind to ensure understanding and willingness from both parties. You will receive comprehensive training on this and other staff management subjects on a management skills for new managers course.
In this post we will be using Daisy from Marketing as an example of applying the SMARTA objectives to performance appraisals.
S – Specific
The objectives you set need to be to the point yet comprehensive. If there’s potential for misunderstanding then add detail.
Setting your employee Daisy a goal of learning more about social media for business is not specific enough; but asking her to complete a social media training course and set up a campaign across Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and GooglePlus is clear.
M – Measurable
Make sure the objectives you set are measurable and that the employee is aware of how you plan to measure them. Will you be prioritising their efficiency or the quality of the output?
When Daisy is asked to set up a social media marketing campaign, she will need to know if you’re just expecting her to put in a certain amount of time or whether you want to see a certain increase in traffic and conversions.
A – Achievable
Challenge the employee but ensure their ongoing motivation by making the challenge achievable. Discussion and objectives related to personal development will ensure the goals are of benefit to the business and interesting for the individual.
You need to consider the resources available and give the person the necessary time and support to achieve the task. Daisy will need time for training and to get the campaign off the ground. She may need technical support and development to get her started. Setting achievable results is one way to reduce employee turnover.
R – Relevant
Each objective must be appropriate for the needs of the business as well as the personal development of the employee. If setting up the social media campaign was Daisy’s idea, you’ll need to decide if this course of action is relevant to an existing business need.
Think of how the objective relates to her existing skills, workload and long-term development goals to determine its relevancy.
T – Trackable
As with any ongoing project, you may need to set smaller goals or milestones within one objective. As a manager you’ll need to be able to track the individual’s ongoing performance/progress to ensure there are no big surprises for either party when the time comes for the next appraisal.
It’s no good if you ask Daisy to achieve her objective within a month if the next available course is not for three weeks. Be prepared to ask for regular updates and outcomes so you are both in a position to agree new objectives at the next appraisal.
A – Agreed
Each party must agree to the objective in order for there to be any benefit. If you think your employee is disinterested in or worried by what has been discussed, it will be up to you to turn that around before either party signs it off.
A manager’s role in performance appraisals is to be knowledgeable and realistic about the business need and the individual’s performance, whilst listening to the employee and giving them input into their own objectives. By using the SMART steps, you will naturally form an easy agreement of past issues and future objectives to make the appraisal SMARTA.
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