Goal Setting for Better Employee Performance Reviews and Management

Traditionally, both employees and managers faced employee performance reviews with more trepidation than anticipation. No matter how well they perform, most employees dislike feeling judged. On the other side of the table, managers may not like delivering judgments that might upset and alienate their team.

Mostly, the measures used in the past to check performance appeared subjective and mysterious to the employee and sometimes, even to management. Also, mere ratings did not always give employees the help they needed to improve, nor a chance for managers to assist with that improvement.

In contrast to mere performance evaluations, performance management uses frequent check-ins to enable transparent goal setting, coaching, and a focus not upon judgment but on employee success.


Employee Check-Ins for Goal Setting and Performance Measuring

 Employee check-ins can supplement or even replace typical performance reviews to make the process more effective and even more pleasant. At the beginning of the year managers might schedule out periodic check-ins with their team for the rest of the year. As we discussed in an earlier article, managers use employee check-ins as a chance to communicate expectations and help employees develop a success plan for their career. As part of the success plan, goal setting helps both parties understand the objective and transparent measures employees should strive to meet. This applies to how the employee can contribute to the larger goals of the business, as well as their own professional goals. The rest of the plan consists of steps to take to meet these goals. Naturally, almost all aspects of this plan will change as their career progresses.

The frequency of check-ins could vary by company culture or even by function or individual employee. For instance, new hires and struggling employees might require and prefer very frequent check-ins. For others, managers typically decide to schedule these sessions once every month, to six weeks, or every quarter, or at least twice a year.

Very often, these check-ins supplement performance reviews. Because the employee and manager already met a few times to discuss goals, strengths, and address weaknesses, the performance review might just become a chance to summarize overall progress. In other instances, check-ins can even replace the annual performance review because there’s no need to duplicate the effort. For example, the final check-in of the year could serve as the performance review, and assessment for rewards and pay increases.


Benefits of Employee Performance Management

Naturally, some employees will struggle with challenging goals. A check-in can provide the manager with a chance to deliver some coaching or even offer helpful training classes. Frequent check-ins give employees numerous chances to improve before their final review for the year. They also provide managers with an opportunity to understand issues and offer guidance more often. In some cases, multiple employees may struggle with similar goals. That might alert management that some part of the business process — and not necessarily the employee — needs improvement.

Of course, businesses still need a way to evaluate employees. Managers can use progress towards goals as a way to decide who to reward, offer support to, and even who to discipline. Sometimes, managers will even need to use their evaluation to terminate employees. Balance Careers mentioned that these success plans and goal tracking will offer businesses transparent, ethical, and legal evidence that they did their best to help employees perform, actively involved those people in measuring and obtaining success, and set objective measures. In that way, this documentation can protect managers and businesses against claims of discrimination or other illegal practices. If there’s a dispute about promotions, terminations, or some other matter, the employer can refute claims of bias by showing that the company and the employee was actively involved in their career progress.


Getting Started with Performance Management 

Scheduled check-ins and cooperative goal setting can benefit businesses, managers, HR departments, and of course, employees. If this sounds like a better way to manage employee and management performance, you’re welcome to contact us here at Employers Advantage for assistance in setting up your employee performance management process.