Performance Reviews and Goal Setting Best Practices

Engagement Drives Profits 

The term "Employee Engagement" describes the activities and processes employers use to keep employees interested in their work. Performance reviews and goal-setting are an area of employee engagement where businesses can expect large returns in both employee productivity and company profitability. 

Most businesses wouldn't be where they are today without setting goals or reviewing performance of the company and its employees. Goal-setting and performance reviews create a solid foundation for company growth and success. Performance reviews enhance employee engagement, and according to recent studies, companies with a highly engaged workforce experience 21 percent higher profitability. As strategies to improve employee engagement continue to keep HR and business leaders up at night it's important to understand the factors that contribute to employee engagement. According to Forbes, the five elements that drive engagement are: 

  1. Meaningful Work
  2. Hands-On Management
  3. Positive Work Environment 
  4. Growth Opportunity
  5. Trust in Leadership

A solid performance review process touches each one of these elements. Employee success is made possible by reviewing progress often, integrating personal goals with company goals and providing employees insight into how their actions contribute to company success. Read on to explore the benefits of performance reviews and goal setting while also avoiding mistakes before they're made.

8 Tips for Effective Performance Reviews Whitepaper DL

Set Goals During Onboarding 

The onboarding process can be a very busy and exciting time for both the employer and new hire. However, when onboarding functions become weighed down by tedious details and paperwork, the new hire may become disengaged. It's important to set expectations and goals early on and begin tracking progress to get them on the right track. An automated onboarding process can simplify these tedious tasks and allow companies to engage employees from the beginning. 

When employers are attentive to employee's success, new hires will want to work hard and this ultimately results in increased engagement. Goals don't have to complicated. In fact, in the beginning, straightforward goals foster trust and communication. Goals that will help a new hire get on track early could include: 

  • Quality of Work 
  • Quantity of Work
  • Work Habits
  • Attitude/Cooperativeness 
  • Job Knowledge & Skills 

SMART Goal-Setting Guide 

Goals are the backbone of every business. It's important that employees are excited about meeting goals but it's also vital that goals set are SMART. 

S: Specific. Goals should be defined answering "Who, what, when, where, why and how?" They should include dates, resources, and/or dollar amounts you'll need to accomplish them. 

M: Measurable: Identify appropriate metrics for achieving your goals. Employees should be able to track progress and measure success. 

A: Ambitious/Achievable: Goals should be within reach but stretching. It's important not to assign too many goals or ones that aren't attainable in the amount of time allotted to the goal. 

R: Results-Based: Goals align with company strategy. Goals should relate to attaining something that is necessary, of value and supports the company's vision. 

T: Time-Bound: Determine a date, time-frame or scheduled completion of the goal. 

SMART goals can be carried out through an individual development plan, which is a communication tool to ensure employees know how they can achieve their goals, what resources the company can provide to them to help and aligning these goals with organizational expectations. Managers can reference this plan when it comes time for performance reviews to track employee status toward achieving the goals they agreed to. Goal setting is almost always attainable as long as steps are planned out wisely and a time frame that allows steps to be carried out is established. Even goals that seem out of reach will come within reach in time. 

Continuous Goal-Setting for Continuous Results 

As goal-setting and performance reviews are not a "one and done" activity. To keep employees performing at their best, continuous performance check-ins are vital. With the fast-pace of business in today's world, one review per year just doesn't cut it anymore. 

Checking in with employees once per week is beneficial in multiple ways: 

  • No more "Management by Wandering Around" - managers are busy. Taking time to visit each employee's workspace to see how they are doing can eat up a lot of valuable time. Managers can better prepare for conversations on performance when they utilize weekly check-ins with a set time for each employee. 
  • Identify issues before they become big problems - if employees are struggling, a weekly check-in can help managers address those issues quicker before the employee becomes frustrated or makes a costly mistake. 
  • Allows for more frequent recognition - everybody likes to be recognized for a job well done. When managers meet with employees weekly, they can discuss accomplishments and ways to keep the momentum going, resulting in further productivity. 

Learn more about the BirdDogHR Performance Management Solution. 

 8 Dos and Donts of Performance Reviews and Goal Setting Whitepaper DL