Monday, May 12, 2008

How employee performance goals are like New Year’s resolutions

Think about all of the New Year’s resolutions you’ve kept, then compare that number to the amount that you’ve broken. While many New Year’s resolutions are health related, they can still shed light on why we give up on employee performance goals at work.

An article from BusinessWeek shares the top five reasons (and excuses) why we all give up.

Lack of personal ownership. The boss may have a great idea that has everyone excited, but without employee ownership, the idea will never progress. Employees must believe in their goals and have confidence that they are able to achieve those goals.

Lack of time. Why do things always take twice as long than we thought it would? “When the time elapsed in working toward our goal starts exceeding expectations, we’re tempted to just give up on the goal.” The solution - be realistic in when determining the time needed to complete a goal. The author suggests adding up to twice the amount of time you think it would take to complete the task, then add a little more.

It’s too difficult. The goal sounded a lot easier when you described it before, but turns out to be rather difficult. Just like with time, things are usually harder to accomplish than we think at the start. As you’re setting goals, do your best to foresee problems that may arise in the future. When everyone is aware of what may come up during the process, problems will be less of a surprise and employees will be more inclined to keep going.

“More important” things come up. One small distraction can drive you far off course and away from your goal. All of our lives are hectic and distractions are inevitable. Expect something to get in the way of your goal, then plan time to figure out a way around it.

Sticking to it. Once a new goal is achieved, there are certain “maintenance” activities one must stick to. Think of a dieter who has achieved their goal weight. That dieter can’t go straight back to eating junk food, but must keep eating healthy to maintain their new weight.

“Here are the cold, hard truths. Real change requires real effort. The "quick fix" is seldom a meaningful one. Distractions and things that compete for your attention are going to crop up—maybe even more frequently. Changing any one type of behavior won't solve all of life's problems. And finally, any meaningful change will probably require a lifetime of effort.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of these items but there is one basic concept that is missing.

Too many times employee performance goals are not directly tied to (and sometimes are inadvertently contrary to) the essential functions of the employee's jobs.

Accurate, effective job descriptions should be the basis for any perfomance review

Fred Corn
Educational Management Solutions

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