Your organization’s performance depends on how well your employees do their job. Setting your employees’ performance objectives could point your company to the right direction.

How do you know if your company is performing well? Some leaders would say, “through profits”. But the answer isn’t as simple as that.

Any company looking to raise performance can seek ISO certification. The International Standards Organization (ISO) judges a company’s performance based on set criteria. One of those criteria is how effectively a company manages Human Resources. Research has shown that companies with ISO certifications make more money than those without.

As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said,“A goal without a plan is just a wish”. Setting  performance objectives for your employees  is planning for your goal of success.

Take, for example the story of Stephen. As the HR Manager of an engineering firm, Stephen has to take balance two sides of the business. The performance of the company depends on the technical side providing quality engineering services. It also depends on the administrative side which keeps the firm running.

You can’t set the same performance goals for everybody. Not even if they work within the same organization. So how do you create good performance objectives?

Setting your performance objectives

Performance goals should be set at the start of the business cycle or operation year. You need a roadmap before you even start travelling. Your employees need to share your vision before they can work towards it.

A collaborative process

Setting performance objectives is a collaborative process.No company can demand its employees to reach a target that you pull out of the air. It needs to ask its employees what they expect from working. Also, every company  need to determine how their visions align with your company’s goal. Even government offices make use of a collaborative process when setting performance objectives.

During the collaboration process, you need to know the following:

Your organization’s goals

You should identify your company’s goals. Outlining your organization’s goals will help get employees get a feel to how they fit in the company.

Your employees’ motivations

What makes your employees get up in the morning to go to work? A lot of managers take motivation for granted, and assume that people just work to get paid. A good HR manager should consider what interests and excites employees. Planning performance objectives can be a simple process of finding the right motivation.

Your clients

Who is on the receiving end of your services/products? Your employees’ performance goals should be consistent with fulfilling those clients’ needs.

Your environment

The environment is made up of the external factors that could affect your organization. This includes opportunities you could take advantage of and threats that you need to adapt to.

Do the SMART Analysis

According to studies, your goals should be assessed and set using the SMART Analysis. In other words, the performance objectives you set for your employees have to be:


Each employee needs to know the specific tasks required of them. Just like each cog has a specific purpose in a machine, you need to outline the purpose of each employee. Do not have your employees make assumptions about their goals. The whole point of the planning process is to come up with specific performance objectives, not vague goals. This should answer “what needs to be done?”


In order to gauge whether or not an objective has been met, it needs to be measurable. Give your workers performance objectives that can be measured. This could be in terms of number of items produced; products sold; hours of service rendered; or average client satisfaction, among other measurements. Give your employees’ performances a number and give them an aim they can work towards. This should answer the question “How do we know if it’s been done?”


Can the performance objective be done given the time and resources? Your employees should not work towards an impossible goal. One purpose of a performance objective is to motivate employees. unrealistic work objectives only demotivate employees. Demotivation would, of course, lead to poor performance.

It can be tempting to set goals that squeeze your employees’ peak performance every day. But this will exhaust your human resources quickly. Be realistic and plan for the long haul.


The performance goals you set should have a purpose. Your employees need to see how they can contribute to the whole organization. Employees also need to know that they are not just given busywork. They need to feel treated as a valuable resource. Make sure that the performance objectives you set are reasonable. You shoulb be able to answer, “why do we need to meet these goals?”


When are the objectives supposed to be met? Giving your employees a timeframe to work with would have two different purposes. First, it would give a sense of urgency to the objective. After all, time is money. When your employees achieve objectives faster, you can save you a lot of time and money.

Consequently, a timeframe would also ease the assessment of your objectives. Establish a work timeline, marked by milestones for a long-term objective or project. This would let you make decisions and corrections based on those assessments.

The SMART analysis would enable you to set the right performance objectives. Do this collaboratively and do it from the start. This would not be hard as long as you communicate with your employees and decide what you really want for your organization.


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