Goal Setting and Performance Plans

Goal Setting and Performance Plans

One of the most important parts of performance management and a performance management system is helping your employees set goals and create performance plans. After you create job descriptions and hire the right people (whose skills and talents fit your organization), defining goals and creating performance plans will serve three purposes:


  1. They will help ensure your employees have clear priorities when they perform their daily tasks;
  2. Goal setting and performance plans will ensure each employee’s priorities are aligned with the strategic objectives of your organization; and
  3. Goal setting and performance plans provide a framework to help track and follow performance at both an individual level and an organizational level.


I’m Sheryl Wolowyk from myHRpro and in this human resources video I’m now going to tell you the three steps you should follow to help set your organizational goals and to help your staff in setting goals for their performance.


Step 1.

The first step to setting goals and creating performance plans within a performance management system is the responsibility of YOU, the business owner or manager.


First, you have to clearly define the goals of your organization. To set your goals, you should take the vision of your organization and create long-term and short-term goals about how the organization is going to realize this vision. Perhaps your company vision is ‘to manufacture and sell a quality product that’s available to all Canadians in a timely fashion’. Your long term goals may include: to invest in research and development into making your product safer over the next two years, to market your product so all Canadians are aware of it, and to increase production by 25% so that any orders can be filled within a 2 month time frame. Of course your goals will be industry and company specific, but I just want to give you an idea of how your goals relate to your company vision.


Notice how I started the goals with an action phrase: To invest, To market, To increase. These goals are things to do and accomplish, not to write down and forget. Also, when goal setting, try to be as specific as possible to help focus your attention on exactly what needs to be done.


Step 2.

Next create a performance plan, which is a detailed plan describing how your organization is going to attain those goals. Based on the goal setting above, perhaps your performance plan will include: Budgeting $40,000.00 to research and development in safety features for your product, to hire a marketing specialist and more sales people to help increase the awareness of your product and to help drive sales, and to improve processes to shorten manufacturing time.


Step 3.

The third step is to help your staff do personal goal setting and create a performance plan based on your organization’s vision, objectives, goals, plans, AND also based on the roles and responsibilities outlined in their job description.


You may have seen my video on job descriptions in which I told you that employees benefit from job descriptions because they know what is expected of them, and employers and fellow colleagues also benefit because they know which employee is responsible for each task. So you can see that if employees get used to setting goals based on these job descriptions, they will know what they have to do to perform their job successfully and meet their personal objectives, and, furthermore, there is a clear definition for fellow colleagues and employers about what those employees have to do to help realize the goals of the whole organization.


Continuing to use the example discussed earlier, perhaps your sales people’s goal will be to expand their sales calls to all provinces in order to realize the organizational goal of increasing sales nationwide. Take this a step further and have your sales people plan specific sales targets for each quarter. Goals should be both specific and measurable. These are two critical components that you need to include when goal setting. Check out Video 3 in this series for 3 other components of effectively setting goals.


You, as the employer should meet with your staff and their supervisor to discuss and agree on:


  • Their job responsibilities (as outlined in their job descriptions) and what skills and abilities are required to complete these tasks.
  • What the employee’s priorities are and how they align with the organization’s strategic objectives?
  • What results are expected from their work?
  • What behavior is expected of the Employee while carrying out these responsibilities?
  • What help and support the Employee can expect from the Supervisor and coworkers
  • What is the deadline or due date for certain tasks to be done?
  • What resources are necessary for your employee to accomplish their goals?
  • What additional training and development will be required?


So going back to the salesperson, you will discuss his goal of making more nationwide sales calls and how the employer can help the salesperson make this happen. Perhaps they need to buy a phone list, or increase the travel budget to visit customers. Discuss possible solutions to any obstacle that will prevent the employees from achieving their goals.


This conversation and answers to these questions will be documented together with their goals, in the performance plan.


As you can see performance plans are built on goals. What does your organization and staff need to do to achieve their goals. And your goal setting is built on your organizational vision. Creating performance plans not only makes your businesses run smoother and more efficient because everyone knows what they’re doing and why, but it also helps your organization reach its strategic objectives.


Be sure to visit our website (www.myhrpro.com) for your downloadable job description template and a performance plan template, and create a performance plan for your organization and staff today. You can also visit our website to find more hr forms and hr articles or for more information about how to ensure your employee goals get met.