SMART Management – Goal Setting

by | Aug 10, 2016

SMART Management – Is it time to change employee goal setting? When it comes evaluating employee performance, SMART goals are often implemented to track and assess workforce productivity. SMART goals aim to assign a more comprehensive definition to goal setting: S – specific, M – measurable, A – attainable, R – relevant, T – time bound. It aims to bring structure and trackability to an organization’s goals and objectives. Rather than setting vague targets, managers often implement SMART goals to define clear milestones and estimate their attainability.

According to Douglas Vermeeren, an international speaker and best-selling author on goal setting and human performance, approximately 80 percent of people never set goals for themselves though they claim to understand the importance of goal setting in order to attain a better life. Of 20 percent of the population that does set goals, 70 percent fail to meet the goals they have set. SMART goals therefore can be very effective in bringing every goal, right from the intermediary step to the objective achievement, closer to reality.

Is it time to reconsider SMART Management?

The dynamics of business changes every second and so do the trends associated with them. According to Amit Mukherjee, professor of leadership and strategy at IMD business school and author of The Spider’s Strategy, it may be time for organizations to move on from SMART goal management. The reasons mentioned hold a very good ground. First, businesses are moving away from paternalism. Company structures are changing from top-down alignments to more flexible free structures. It is the respect for expertise rather than for a centralized authority, that drives work communities these days. Therefore, companies offer their employees off-the-clock time and free resources. Such work ethics can only thrive with a decentralized action. SMART goals cannot add to, and inevitably subtract from, these environments.

Second, it is the age of collaboration. Many organizations work in collaboration with other companies and as members of a greater business network. A product may be manufactured by one company or in a certain location, however its packaging is taken care of by another company. In cases such these, issues related to complications, uncertainties and ambiguity are unavoidable since collaboration members maybe positioned at different geographic locations or it may so happen that they may have varying work strategies, processes and cultures. Therefore implementing SMART goals with strict milestones and deadlines may prove to be counterproductive.

According to a survey Goal-Free Living by Stephen Shapiro, 58% of the respondents said that they were consciously sacrificing today’s happiness in the belief that achieving their goals will bring fulfilment. However, a very strong 41% also said that each goal achieved brought little, if any, satisfaction despite all the hard work.

SMART Management - Goal Setting

HRMS software for automating goal and performance management

In situations like these, using an HR software can help streamline employee goal and appraisal management. Employee appraisals can be one of the trickiest tasks in employee management. For a manager, it becomes difficult to judge an employee and for an employee, it might be unpleasant to be judged. However, if an HR software is in place, employee goals can be easily aligned with the overall organizational goals. Also, an employee appraisal system is objective and ensures transparency as well as confidentiality.

Implementing a performance appraisal management system offers a host benefits for the employees, managers, HR and for the company as a whole:

360 degree view of employee performance

A performance management system allows managers to clearly communicate and discuss performance issues with employees. The system captures employee performance feedback obtained from customers, peers, and managers to present a complete picture of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses.

Recognize performers

Employee recognition goes a long way in ensuring organizational success. Studies show that employees prefer to receive reviews, even though it may be negative as opposed to being provided no review at all. Performance review software can help make it easier and faster for managers and human resources professionals to complete and deliver periodic employee reviews.

Aimed performance development

A performance management system is an effective tool for recognising the learning and development needs of the employees and of the organization at large. The training and development needs of the organization is clarified. These recognised areas can then be worked and developed upon.

Streamline the feedback process

Performance review software makes it easier for the managers to provide feedback to the employees. The feedback process can be streamlined, providing the employers greater flexibility. Also, the flexibility offered by performance review software eases the pressure associated with writing lengthy reviews under time constraints.

Documentation of employee performance evaluation

It is important for employers to maintain proper record of all employee evaluation reports. A performance management system captures all details to help managers track the historical growth and the performance of every employee in the organization. These records can then be used for development processes, like for planning succession and for developing leadership.

What’s next

To thrive as an organization, companies should take an overall look at their employee evaluation process. Rather than tying employee performance to specific goals, the overall growth of an employee should be considered. An efficient performance appraisal system, administered by skilled HR personnel and managers, can be the next best thing for the company and for its entire workforce.

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