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OBJECTIVE SETTING – CASCADING OBJECTIVES DOWN

Objectives have many functions.  They are not necessarily the cold hard facts of KPI’s but often do support them and the competencies required for the job you perform.


Objectives are a 2 way street - they need to be aligned to the company’s overall objectives and vision but can encompass some personal elements too.  Objectives can be set to stretch the individual for the next role in the company, or to keep them challenged if there is no desire for promotion or no opportunity, and to enable them to achieve the competencies required.


Objectives should be set so that they add value to the individual and to the company.  Progress on objectives should be reviewed regularly as there may be a need to amend them or in some cases as they become irrelevant through company or career change of direction.
Individuals should be encouraged, prior to meeting with their line manager, to think of where they need developing, how they would like to be challenged.  Ask them to write out how they think their objectives should look.  These will be discussed and agreed.  
As their line manager you will appreciate that they have taken the time to consider their career, their strengths and areas of development and formulated their own ideas.  You, as line manager,  will also have some suggested objectives based on your perceptions of where they need to grow!


What to consider when setting objectives
When determining objectives, consider the following and what the implications are if they are not done:

Steps to be taken: What are the implications if not done?
Are the objectives linked to the business plan/development plan? Will not assist in achieving overall company goals
Have the objectives been mutually agreed? Employee won’t take ownership of objectives if not agreed
Is the wording clear and concise?  Will lead to misunderstanding and misinterpretation
Are they SMART objectives? They will not be used constructively
Do they clearly identify the measureable factors such as cost, time and volume? Will not be able to identify progress and whether they have been achieved
Are they prioritised?  The employee may work on objectives that are less critical first and not achieve the more critical ones
Are the objectives being used? If they are pointless the employee will become demotivated
Are they monitored regularly? Is regular feedback on progression being given?

If not the employee may lose momentum and morale.


Objectives and KPI’s … what is the difference?
A lot of confusion surrounds objectives and KPI’s, many thinking that they are the one and the same.  They are not.  Objectives are qualitative measures of performance, designed to stretch and challenge the individual.  KPI’s are quantitative measures, the cold hard facts – the deliverables!  These are about figures and data.  They are very specific targets that must be achieved for the company to become even more successful.
KPI’s will vary depending on the role that the individual is employed to do and they are not necessarily related to the hierarchal structure.  For example a Team Leader will have a completely different set of KPI’s to our regional IT supports.
Team leader KPI’s may look like this:
•    Ensure 100% on H&S audits
•    Reduce agency and contingency costs by XX%
•    Ensure all appraisals and DBS are completed within the window
•    Ensure all staff receive their 3 + 1 supervisions
•    Ensure all staff receive XXX training
•    0% safeguarding complaints
•    Work with HR to bring sickness absence levels down to XX%
Where IT support may look like this:
•    Implement XXX software by XXX date
•    Train all staff by XXX in use of new software
•    Deliver 100% of work within the delivery timetable
•    Produce a project plan for implementing the IT infrastructure for X site by XXX (date)
If using KPI’s, remember you must have credible, accurate and easily attainable data in place to support these and to measure if achieved.  Do not create a KPI that cannot be measured.  Do remember though to take into account factors outside the individual’s control when assessing KPI’s, for example with the IT support, if the lease is not signed for on a new site and an alternative new site needs to be found, it would be impossible for the project plan to be completed within the timescales defined.
You should be able to create at least one KPI for most roles reporting to you, even it if it is to set attendance at 100%.
Companywide objectives
It is estimated that on average only 7% of all employees fully understand their company’s business strategies and what is expected of them in order to achieve company goals.
To achieve ‘goal alignment’, first clearly communicate the business objectives across the entire company to all staff, regardless of job or level.
Be clear when setting objectives with individuals to clarify why this objective has been set and which business objective it relates to.  This will create an atmosphere of shared responsibility and greater ‘buy-in’ as the individual can clearly see the relevance of why each objective has been set.
In a business where care of people is involved, organisational strategic objectives may look like: 
To focus on people we support, their strengths and talents enabling them to live with minimum support going forward
This may translate to a Care Worker of those people as ‘create individualised social plan for each SU, detailing activities enjoyed, frequency, interaction with others, etc’
Retain and develop a strong high quality workforce
This may translate to a Care Worker as gaining experience within a different discipline area within the organisation, being seconded to another service to gain additional experience, being developed into a potential Team Leader so needing experience of XXX,  or reducing personal sickness/attendance levels so that agency is spend is controlled and within defined targets.
For a team leader it may be review the agency spend fluctuations over the past 3 years, analyse where there has been intense activity and plan in advance for the next peak period where alternative solutions can be put in place.

By having the strategic plan with you when setting the individual’s objectives they can clearly see the impact and the reasoning why it is important for this objective to be carried out.

Don’t be afraid to think big! Setting challenging objectives and pushing people to go above and beyond is not a bad thing as it shows trust and confidence in their ability, but make sure the benchmark is right … over challenging objectives will have the opposite effect and demotivate if they feel they are out of reach and unattainable.  It is important to strike a balance.
Breaking objectives down into manageable chunks
By breaking each objective down into ‘mini goals’ or ‘mini actions’ over the period makes the overall objective easier to achieve.  So for example, the objective might be to reduce agency spend by XX% - this could be done month by month with a gradual increase in percentage so as not to daunt the individual and to give them time to review and reflect any changes that they may have implemented to drive the reduction in agency spend.  


To summarise
•    Give a mixture of personal and business related objectives
•    Ensure there is a purpose to each objective
•    Link back to business plan
•    Have business plan/Organisational objectives to hand 
•    Get buy in
•    Ensure the individual knows why this is being set
•    Encourage them to think of their own in advance
•    Ensure you have the infrastructure to be able to measure
•    Monitor progress regularly as part of the supervisions
•    Discuss the business plan/organisational objectives at team meetings so that they can be considered in advance

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