Once you’ve entered the world of work, performance reviews are likely to be a part of your working life. Done right, performance reviews give you reasons for continuous improvement, making valuable contributions in your job, and keeping your career on track.
A big part of performance reviews is goal setting. It's important to know is that goal setting is highly personal. You can't just copy goals from your peers and make them your own. The goals you specify should be a result of considering three factors: your current performance, your own career objectives, and your role within the company.
A well-known method for creating effective goals is to use the SMART criteria. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Using the SMART method will make the mission of achieving your goals easier to visualise and therefore easier to plan for.
If you want to know how to turn your performance review goals into SMART goals, read on.
Let’s say your goal for the next six months is: Do better in my job.
The first step is to be more Specific with your goal. If there are many things you need to do to be better in your job, pick the most prominent performance criteria that are important to you and your job.
Being Specific answers what you want to accomplish and why and will result in a goal that sounds more like: I want to increase customer satisfaction rates.
Next, add the Measurable element. The measurement part gives you a tangible target. It also means that you should have ways of measuring the improvements. In this example, one of the measurement tools could be a customer survey form that can tell you what people think of your service. Other measurement metrics could be profit, website visitors, and so on.
Next is making the goal Attainable. You’ll want to aim for a goal that’s not too hard nor too easy to achieve. Creating a goal that’s too lofty will create too much pressure – it will probably leave you demotivated instead. A goal that’s too easy won’t help you grow. Find a goal that you can look forward to achieving.
At this point, your goal will end up sounding like this: I want to increase customer satisfaction rates by 15%.
Your goals need to be relevant to your company’s objectives as well as relevant to your role. In this example, if you’re providing a service and customer satisfaction is valuable to your company, then it is a good performance metric for you to include.
Providing a target date for achieving your goals is vital. Take into account the magnitude of your goal, the tasks that it involves, and the results you want to achieve when setting a deadline. To help you stay on track, add milestones to your timeline. For example, if your goal was to Increase customer satisfaction rates by 15% within six months, then some checkpoints would be something like establish Service Level Agreement by end of month 1.
Creating SMART goals can really make a difference to your career progression. SMART goals help employees and managers develop clarity in performance expectations and outcomes. Seeing these goals being achieved can lead to great career satisfaction!