Goals, Personal Development Reviews, SMART plans, Appraisals, Performance Reviews - if you have worked in a corporate environment, chances are that you have heard these terms used.
All companies want you to thrive within your role, but how do they benchmark how well you’re doing? That is when these terms come into play. They are designed to help line managers review how you’re performing on a 6 monthly or annual basis.
However, setting goals, aims and objectives, or key areas of development are pointless unless they stay relevant to your role, the business aims and future roadmaps.
If, for example, your appraisal process runs annually, sometimes the goals set become irrelevant within that 12 month period, and the appraisal becomes a tick-box exercise between yourself and your manager, rather than a meaningful discussion.
So, why is it necessary to set goals for employees?
Goals breakdown workloads to provide a clear pathway to successful outcomes. They provide focus and clarity on key areas of development, whilst also nurturing motivation.
Written goals are 42% more likely to be achieved than those that aren’t recorded.
In the past at ZeroLight we ran a 6 monthly review process that was quite lengthy in nature, and engagement wasn’t where we wanted it to be.
We realised the importance of involving our staff in discussions around these processes and wanted to discover more about how they worked best as well as how they wanted to receive recognition and feedback from Managers.
We asked our employees for their feedback on what they want from a review process in a series of small focus groups and company surveys.
Following the feedback, we found that people weren’t engaged with the current process because often their goals didn’t have a clear link to what we were trying to achieve as a business. It was also clear that the forms being used were overly complicated and giving formal feedback every 6 months wasn’t enough, people preferred to have more regular feedback.
Based on this information, we launched a quarterly goal setting process which answered the need to have more regular formal feedback. We also simplified the process and the form so that these meetings became more about meaningful discussion on performance and development.
Our aim now is to ensure that everyone has a set of individual goals that are reviewed regularly. Goals are a mix of deliverables for each quarter and personal development aims which can span multiple quarters. These goals are linked to our team and the business goals for that year. This also gives transparency across the business, and allows teams to collaborate more effectively.
We also moved away from forms, logging and tracking our goals via our online HR platform, HiBob. This has made goal setting easier for all parties, and allows employees to go into the system and update their goals at any time, with line managers receiving automatic notifications when this is done. Goals can be updated and adapted in realtime, which always keeps them relevant to the work the employee is doing.
We have had our quarterly goal setting cycle in place now for over 12 months, and we have found that engagement with goals has been much more positive, with employees now understanding the links between their individual goals and the company’s overall vision for the next one to three years.
In a recent survey, we asked our employees how they have found the new quarterly goals process…
“Clear, useful and better than longer cycles that can sometimes fail to match the pace of change of reality”
“Excellent, it has been really positive to see how my actions feed into the wider plan for the talent team and the business”
“Good process, easily outlined and simple to update”
“Great to visualise goals and set realistic targets”