It’s time to reset goals.
Economic disruption and uncertainty has meant the goals we set last financial year, even last month, now look shaky. How can you hit a target when the bullseye is flapping in the wind?
For HR, it’s time to reset employee performance goals in line with external factors. Set goals that are achievable.
Because if goals remain the same, then the pressure on employees is astronomical. Which adds to the pre-existing COVID-19 stress we are all living, potentially contributing to even more burnout. Goals can be a source of motivation or stress creation. Let’s focus on the former.
Goal setting can be stressful — just ask any nervous employee during performance management conversations. Especially when goals are set from above, unrealistic and a threat to job security.
Right now, reasonable goals are those that factor in the economic impact of COVID-19 to businesses. We can’t expect to keep lofty growth goals in place, remnants from the economic boom preceding this downturn.
For employee goals to be reasonable, they need to be employee-led.
Your employees are much closer to the frontline truth of what is and isn’t workable. The sales rep on the ground, customer service agent on the phones or engineer in the field all know what is and isn’t possible. They live it.
So empowering employees to set their own performance goals ensures reasonable goals are set. It also creates a sense of ownership.
But these goals still need to align with organisational objectives and business goals.
The easiest way for HR to ensure employee performance goals are reasonable and effective is to use a goal framework. Like S.M.A.R.T., which stands for:
S – Specific
Goals must be clear and specific about what employees need to do.
M – Measurable
Goals must be measurable in some way, so that they can be tracked.
(rule of thumb: can you add this goal into your goal management tool?)
A – Achievable
The goal HAS to be attainable. The best way to be sure is to ask the manager, employee and another team member if it’s realistic. Or to enable managers and employees to set their own goals. Here are some goal setting strategies you can share with managers.
R – Relevant
The goal must be worthwhile and related to business objectives. Currently, that also includes being relevant to the global economic environment. Be empathetic to customers and clients and the world. Can this goal help those you serve with their COVID-19 related struggles?
T – Time-based
Goals need time constraints and an end-date for them to be relevant. With such shifting conditions, we suggest using shorter time-frames (1 – 3 months) to allow for volatility.
SMART goals are a good start, but for goals to be visible (and effective) across your organisations, it’s best practice to use some form of goal management software. We all know goals left in filing cabinets (or misplaced docs) collect dust and get forgotten. Worse still, if leaders can’t see goals, then sometimes assume none exist.
With SMART goals in mind, let’s look at some ways to set new performance goals for your employees (that are relevant right now).
Collaboration goals help improve communication and a sense of wellbeing at work by bringing teams together. I can’t think of a more urgent time for either of these things.
For many HR teams, training budgets have been put on hold, frozen or reallocated. This makes professional development goals harder, but not impossible. There are tons of free resources available right now that employees can capitalise on. Encouraging their uptake is a great way HR can continue employee development without budget.
With productivity being so elusive, it’s important to help managers and employees set self-management goals. Especially if your teams are remote, or blended — staying productive working from home can be tough (but here are some great tips).
Goals need a reset. Especially employee performance goals that are tied to the state of the economy. Managers and leaders simply can’t expect to hold employees accountable for growth in a slowing market.
If your goals were disrupted by COVID-19 and could be putting undue pressure on your team members, then why not sit down, re-evaluate and reset some more reasonable goals, in order to make the first half of 2021 much brighter.
And if you’d like some help, or need a goal management system that helps do this for you, feel free to reach out. Our goal is to help you achieve your HR goals, employees’ performance goals and business goals. Learn more here.