Setting goals for employees

Incentive; New York; May 1997; Tom Peters;

Abstract:

Tips for setting and reaching employee goals include: 1. Assign clear, specific, realistic, and useful goals. 2. Be a positive performance role model. 3. Be supportive and express confidence in your workers' ability to achieve goals.

Full Text:

Here are eight tips for reaching targets

If you want your employees to improve their productivity and morale, just ask them to do it. That's easy enough. But a surprising number of managers have trouble explaining what they want done and why. Here are a few tips from Corperformance Inc., a San Marino, Calif.-based consulting firm specializing in performance management, to help managers set employee goals and have them reached.

Assign clear, specific, realistic and useful goals. Goals like "just do your best" can't replace specific goals. The more specific your stated goals, the more credibility you gain.

Be a positive performance role model. The single most effective way to get employees to enthusiastically embrace your goal-setting program is for you, the manager, to set and achieve challenging goals for yourself. Be supportive and express confidence in your workers' ability to achieve goals. A manager's positive expectations often set the stage for higher performance and create a positive association among you, the performer, and his or her success.

After setting goals, employees should develop their own ways to achieve them. Letting employees take personal responsibility for developing strategies to reach goals makes the manager look secure. Provide specific feedback. To improve employees' performance and develop a positive impression of yourself in their eyes, give timely feedback about reaching the goal. You will be seen by them as involved, informed and helpful when you offer specific knowledge of results to your people.

Offer fair rewards for achievement. Providing appropriate levels of recognition for your people will help you be viewed as fair. Management fairness is always important for employee morale and satisfaction, while strengthening the goal-setting process.

Adjust goals as new information is available. Flexibility is crucial to an effective manager. However, changing goals too frequently can make managers appear unfocused.

Follow up regularly on performance targets. Regularly track progress toward goal achievement and discuss this process with your employees. A manager then will be perceived as being on top of the situation. You run the risk of losing credibility with your employees if you fail to follow up.