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7 Simple Steps to Setting Objectives

In this Manager’s Guide on the 7 Simple Steps to Setting Objectives, we provide you with a solid framework for this process to ensure that you are providing clarity and purpose for your employees.

Most of us have heard of the acronym SMART but may well struggle with writing a SMART objective as it really isn’t as simple as you may originally think. Regardless, objectives cannot be ignored. They are vital to the performance management process; they help your staff to set goals for the business year, and give employees something to grade their performance on come appraisal time. By using objectives, managers can understand how staff have performance against their objectives, and make accurate decisions on whether they deserve pay increases, where they need development, and what kind of objectives they should be set for the next year.

Firstly we should remind ourselves what SMART actually does stand for:

S Specific / Stretching
M Measurable
A Achievable / Agreed
R Relevant
T Timed
E Engaging
R Reviewable

Step 1: What’s the purpose of setting objectives?

  • To give clarity of expectations to employees
  • To focus, motivate and engage staff
  • To align individual performance with organisational priorities
  • They can also be used to enable recognition and reward in line with contribution

Step 2: Recognise there can be different types

Performance Objective
  • A clearly defined deliverable that may be project based or drive increased performance towards a business goal or stretch on the ‘day job’. Must be SMART!
Numeric Objective
  • A metric that the individual can influence but may not be able to fully control. Has a time element and the output is a number – financial or score. Where possible these should be individualized

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