Sample Performance Reviews | Setting Performance Goals

The quality sample performance reviews we researched all had one section in common. Leaders need to always provide clear goal expectations to your employee to ensure they know how they can be successful during the coming year. 

While recognizing employees for their accomplishments of the prior year is critical, one of the most important benefits of the annual performance review is establishing mutually agreed upon goals and objectives for the future.

performance reviews

Download Free: Employee Performance Review Tool

Leaders are well advised to resist the temptation of simply "telling" employees what they "will do".  No one likes to be told what to do. People want to be asked their opinion and be a part of a larger conversation. 

Invite each employee to be a part of the process for determining their own goals – staying within the bounds of what the organization must achieve during the coming year. 

By including your team members in a conversation to determine how they will achieve the goals of the organization, you may find that their front-line expertise offers valuable insight that you otherwise would not have thought about. 

Taking a few extra minutes to capture their knowledge on important subject that impact the company can go a long way to gain buy-in from the employee and ensure success for your team. Best of all, this process doesn't take much time, but the benefits for all parties involved can be enormous. 

Our six part series on Employee Performance Reviews consists of the following topics:

1.  Purpose & Objectives

2.  Appraisal Guidelines & Rating System

3.  Proper Use of Language

4.  Being Well Prepared

5.  Setting Performance Goals  (You're here!)

6.  Timely Follow-Up

Here are some quick guidelines for setting performance goals:

  • Involve the employee by educated him about the needs of the company and the important part his efforts will play
  • Determine overall department/team goals and objectives
  • Review the employee's current roles and responsibilities for the job
  • Align individual goals with team goals
  • Determine measurements for success (How will you both know when the goal is achieved?)
  • Review progress to goal regularly (weekly, monthly, etc.), revise goals as necessary

A quality conversation around goals, covering the How, When, What and Why, will ensure that both parties are on the same page and fully committed to the process. 

"You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential."

- Steve Garvey

Setting SMART Goals & Development Plan | Sample Performance Reviews

One of the biggest mistakes leaders make when setting goals is they don't clearly define the goals. Use the following S.M.A.R.T. principle when establishing goals with your employees:

  • Be Specific
  • Make sure goals are Measurable
  • Ensure goals are realistic and Attainable
  • Make goals Results-oriented
  • Make goals Time specific
performance appraisal formPerformance Appraisal Form

Here are a couple examples of a SMART goal: (Notice how specific each statement is, leaving no ambiguity for the employee.)

  • "To gain 15% increase over prior year in total production by end of 3rd quarter."
  • "To reduce losses by 20%, or $500, within the next 45 days".

Next, let’s discuss how we can quickly create a personal development plan.

Remember, employers who invest time, energy and money in their employees, get it all back multi-fold in terms of increased production and improved customer/employee retention.

Key points to consider while creating a useful development plan include:

  • Explore strategies to improve overall skill level
  • Explore opportunities for career growth
  • Explore ways to improve performance in the current position
  • Consider ways to enhance or expand roles and responsibilities. Use the development section of our sample performance reviews form for this purpose
  • Identify key skills needed to be ready for promotion

Strategies for investing in and supporting employees might include:

  • On the job training seminars or classes
  • Joining professional organizations
  • Encourage networking
  • Provide additional mentoring
  • Assign books, audio/video tapes, internet research for added learning
  • Enroll in University courses or local seminars

Learning options are truly endless. Employees who are self-starters will be the first to take advantage of these opportunities. Using our sample performance reviews template you can easily plan for quality discussions on goals and professional development plans for your employees.

Continue Our Series on Employee Performance Reviews

That completes part five in our six-part series, only one more to go...

The final topic in our six-part series highlighting our on sample performance reviews template explains the importance of Timely Follow Up with your employees. This is the perfect time to address both prior performance to goal, and objectives for the coming year.

Download Performance Appraisal Tool

employee performance appraisal

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