When you've completed the appraisals of your employees, review the evaluations and use each employee’s specific ratings as the basis for goal setting. In fact, these ratings provide the ideal starting point for establishing the two most important types of goals in the workplace: performance goals and developmental goals.
When you create performance goals with your employees, place your emphasis on jointly establishing clear, specific, measurable, and meaningful objectives in three interrelated areas:
Output and results goals: Goals in this area focus on quantitative measures of productivity, yield, and results that the employees are expected to achieve.
Competency goals: These goals focus on the way in which your employees carry out their job responsibilities and strive to build their output and productivity.
Behavioral goals: These goals focus on the specific behaviors that your employees demonstrate every day while carrying out their various job responsibilities.
As you work with your employees to establish their performance goals, you also need to use this opportunity to establish additional goals that focus on your employees’ growth, learning, and development.
In order to set developmental goals that actually enhance your employees’ knowledge, skills, abilities, and effectiveness on the job, you need to keep in mind some key points all the way through the goal-setting process.
Identifying each employee’s needs
When working with employees to create developmental goals, the first step is to identify the areas in which further development is actually needed — for example, in terms of leadership, communication, teamwork, or administrative and planning skills.
The best source of this type of information is each individual employee’s evaluation. Take a close look at the areas in which you gave relatively low ratings, consider the significance of each area, and then select those that are most critical for effective performance and success on the job.
Building your employees’ motivation to learn
If you just take the findings from the evaluations and throw your employees into a training program, the outcome is likely to be underwhelming at best. In order for true learning to occur, the participants in any kind of educational program should be motivated to learn. Without motivation, any efforts to build their skills and upgrade their knowledge will be little more than background noise.
Establishing developmental goals
With your employees’ developmental needs clearly identified, and the employees’ inputs included in the process, you’re ready to jointly establish developmental goals. Developmental goals clearly outline the performance areas where your employees will pursue development, as well as the specific outcomes they’ll be seeking in each. Developmental objectives are held to the same standards of specificity, measurement, challenge, and prioritization as the employees’ performance goals.
Setting the developmental plan
As soon as you and your employees have agreed on the developmental goals, as in the case of establishing performance goals, the next step is to create a thorough plan to energize and guide the process throughout the evaluation period. This step-by-step plan includes developmental areas to be covered, resources required, programs to attend, training materials needed, commitments from other employees who will help, follow-up meetings, and clearly defined benchmarks and deadlines.