January is coming soon, and it is the time to start implementing the new year’s business plan and begin work on accomplishing the goals and objectives outlined therein. Creating a written business plan with your team gives your business a road map for the year ahead. As valuable as a written business plan is at the beginning of the year, it is equally important to meet with each of your employees to develop individual goals and objectives to be used in measuring their performance and to be a coach supporting their professional growth.
Align Employee and Company Goals
A key element of a performance evaluation program is to align each employee’s goals and objectives with the company’s business plan. One critical consideration in this process is to make sure the goals and objectives support the company’s mission statement and values. Owners and managers should work with each employee to assist in identifying their goals and objectives. In contrast to a system of goals dictated by management that employees may find alienating, a collaborative approach encourages employees to take ownership of their efforts while allowing management to help shape performance indicators.
Include Learning Objectives
While sales goals and other quantitative benchmarks certainly will form the basis for many employee performance plans, it is a good idea to include learning objectives as well to encourage employee growth and engagement. Examples include training and skill enhancement such as conflict resolution, leadership development, activities related to construction or development, safety and loss control, and community outreach.
Establish Ongoing Communication
Once the employee’s plan is identified, it is important to reinforce the goals and objectives through ongoing communication of the overall company’s strategic plan and performance. In addition to this big-picture information, employees should receive feedback throughout the year regarding their individual progress toward achieving goals and objectives. Most management software platforms enable users to generate customizable reports, which may be provided to employees to permit them to track their performance throughout the year.
Plan Periodic Reviews
Conducting performance reviews annually is a common practice, and the start of a new year is an excellent time to begin if you are implementing a new evaluation program. Adding periodic reviews throughout the year – quarterly or semiannually – is highly encouraged as a means of reinforcing the company plan, evaluating the employee’s performance to date, and making adjustments in individual plans to meet new opportunities and challenges that may have been identified since the previous performance review. By implementing a performance evaluation program, expect higher performance and a more engaged employee. It could mean a differentiating competitive advantage.