Appraisal Goals and Objectives

This second part of the appraisal meeting has equal importance to the performance review because it involves defining and agreeing new goals for the coming year. This involves four steps: setting new goals, defining new competencies the individual needs to attain, agreeing a training schedule that enables the individual to attain the KSA's needed, and finally the scheduling of review sessions.

Defining appraisal goals

You should agree new goals that reflect the job description and develop the required competencies. You should also ensure that the team member understands how these contribute to the organizational goals.

The importance of this part of the appraisal means that it should take up about a third of the overall appraisal meeting.

Setting SMART goals

Each goal needs to clearly state what is required, be easily measured, be a task that is attainable not impossible, be relevant to the team member's role, and have a defined time frame. If you would like more information on this aspect of the appraisal cycle and setting goals then you should download our free eBook 'Effective Goal Setting.'

An important aspect of gaining the team member's commitment to their goals and performance measures is the willingness of you as manager to negotiate and compromise your first draft of their goals. This may mean bringing forward their training schedule or offering on-the-job mentoring, so that the individual feels that they can attain their goals.

Discussions on future training should take into account the personal aspirations of the individual as well as your departmental requirements. This will keep them motivated, particularly if they feel they are gaining marketable skills. In the real world budget is often a constraining factor, but remember that bought-in training is not the only solution; so be creative in how you develop your team.

In order to identify how the employee can achieve personal and professional development you could ask the following questions:

  • Are there any skills you have been called upon to use this year that you would like to develop?
  • Are there any organizational procedures that you feel to use effectively you need to develop certain skills?
  • What aspects of your role do you find most difficult?
  • Are there any elements of your role that interest you more or less than others?
  • What kind of work would you like to be doing in two years' time and do you feel this role allows you to acquire the necessary skills?
  • Do you have any particular skills you would like to attain in this period?

In each case, make sure that you ask for specific instances or examples of the perceived need.

One extra thing you should try to determine is how well the employee's own career plans match your requirements as their manager. It can be difficult to avoid showing disapproval if their plans do not fit in with your future needs but it is a good idea to be as supportive as possible whatever you may think privately. Remember, you may be working with them for the foreseeable future and it is pointless to take issue with someone for being honest with you about their personal aspirations.

Even though it may be tempting to ignore an individual's desire to move on from their current role, especially if they are very productive, be mindful that they could cause you serious problems if they left suddenly in the middle of a critical project. The fact is that some members of your team will have career plans that you cannot accommodate within the team and it is better to know about them rather than finding that you are the only person who is surprised when a resignation letter or transfer request lands on your desk.

Finally, you should schedule and agree the regular review sessions you wish to have with the individual throughout the appraisal period.

Appraisal review sessions

These sessions provide you with ongoing opportunities to discuss and reinforce the role's functions and how they are reflected in the goals, reiterate the organization's goals, discuss how well performance is progressing, and address any issues early enough to alter the outcome. They also allow you to update or amend goals if external factors change sufficiently to cause the original goal to be no longer attainable.

Finally, be careful not to make any implicit promises of promotion or job security. It can be very tempting to do this at the end of the appraisal meeting particularly when you feel as though you want to impress on the team member that you are pleased with their performance. For example,

'Your work so far has been excellent and I expect to see you taking over Sarah's job when she goes on maternity leave.'

'I know there's been some talk about redundancies but I want to assure you that your job is secure.'

In both of these cases you would be implying a contract about something over which you do not have complete control. This is called an implied contract and could result in charges of discrimination if what you promised does not materialize.

You may also be interested in:
Appraisal Meeting Tips | Appraisal Forms Format | Appraisal Meeting Structure | Past Performance Evaluation | Appraisal Discussion Points.

Key Points

  • This second part of the appraisal meeting has equal importance to the performance review because it involves defining and agreeing new goals for the coming year.
  • It involves the following four steps:
    ➢ Setting new goals
    ➢ Defining any new competencies
    ➢ Agreeing a training schedule
    ➢ Scheduling review sessions
  • Never make any implicit promises of promotion or job security even if you feel that you need to placate a team member at the end of the meeting by giving them some good news.
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