Aligning and cascading objectives is important for performance management

The purpose of performance management is to align people performance with your business goals. Therefore, the more effectively you can do this, the more efficiently your business will operate. For example, aligning and cascading objectives is one way of enabling high staff performance. However, in our experience, businesses rarely align and cascade objective effectively, especially organisations with 50 – 500 employees. These organisations are typically managed operationally by senior management.

A key way to leverage more from your existing resource is to make the critical step of aligning and cascading key business objectives.

The purpose of performance appraisals is to motivate and focus staff to deliver their best. As such, the process should start with clear objectives that are aligned with those of the business. Performance appraisals allow you to reflect on progress against these. You want people to have their objectives front and centre for the majority of the year, and paper just doesn’t do that (performance management software does… hint!).

The steps involved in cascading objectivesAligning and cascading performance objectives

Cascading objectives is a skill that many managers are not familiar with. This is why we have outlined the steps involved in cascading objectives to help managers.

  1. At board level, decide 4-6 strategic goals for the year. If these top-level goals are financial, go down a level by asking what the main driver of that result could be in each of your business areas e.g. Sales – New business acquisition; Customer Service – Retention rate; Manufacturing – Lean or productivity metrics.
  2. Make objectives SMART and visible to the management level below. (See our white paper on SMART objectives for more information.)
  3. Ask your staff how their department can help to achieve SMART goals. Help them to define SMART targets for their area.
  4. Ensure the departmental targets are cascaded, so the remaining levels become individual targets, by discussing what staff can do to support this departmental/strategic goal.
  5. Document and manage individual performance against these goals over the course of the year.

And that’s all there is to it!

If you think that you haven’t got time to follow these steps to cascade objectives effectively, remember that goal setting is proven to increase clarity, productivity and motivation. Can you really afford for 80% of your organisation to be without clear direction? Without clear direction, your staff are likely to coast, look elsewhere, or make up their own objectives – and these may not be in the direction that you want them to be!

For more information about cascading objectives effectively, why not read our more in-depth white paper on the topic: 10 Tips For Cascading Objectives

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