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How to set great performance objectives

For performance objectives to be effective, they must be well-written and agreed with the employee.

Performance objectives help align employees’ goals with the business’s overarching mission, whilst clarifying the expectation the business has of its employees. By demonstrating the measures of success clearly, employees and the business can monitor progress simply, providing managers with better opportunities to coach and develop their team.


Many organisations promote the use of SMART goals – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have a Time deadline set on them.

Whilst this works well in theory, some organisations are finding that managers are using the SMART goals basis as a checklist, without consulting the individuals the targets are being set against.

All goals should be set following genuine conversations with the individual, and crucially, followed up throughout a set time period. Reviewing the employee’s progress at the deadline date will not assist the individual if they encounter any challenges along the way; managers should frequently check-in with the individual to offer coaching advice to keep them on track in achieving their goal.


As SMART goals can be flawed, many organisations are choosing to implement performance management software to encourage genuine two-way conversations between managers and employees.

Modern performance management systems are hosted securely online allowing both parties to add their thoughts, feedback and progress whenever necessary to the system whilst allowing the other person access to the records. This method encourages open communication and provides a secure place to evidence training and coaching.

By allowing managers and employees to record changes with time-relevance, these records can be used during the end-of-year appraisal to ensure that achievements and struggles are not overlooked or lessened in significance by time.


Setting objectives needn’t be a burden – they should be formed from genuine conversations between managers and employees and agreed in line with personal goals and organisational goals.

With an online performance management system in place, you can open up the conversation and provide more opportunities for feedback and development.

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