Helping Your Employees to Write Performance Objectives

performance objectivesIn my blog ‘How to encourage your staff to write performance objectives’ I talked about an email I’d received asking for advice on how to involve staff in writing their own performance objectives. I suggested the start point was to, firstly, engage staff with the idea of writing their own objectives

In this blog we’re going to move on to look at how to use one method of helping your staff write objectives. It’s method I call ‘Using What You’ve Got’!

(NB my assumption here is that you have identified the areas of the job where objectives are going to improve employee performance. For more info on how to do this see my blog ‘Using performance objectives to improve employee performance’ HERE)

‘Using What You’ve Got’ to Write Performance Objectives

The basic principle of this method is that there’s very little point ‘reinventing the wheel’ when writing performance objectives. Why not use what you’ve already got? Here’s how it can work:

Option 1: Use Objectives You Have Written

Give your staff member objectives you have written – as a draft – and ask them to make suggestions for improvement. Top tip: Be sure to make the objectives you’ve written look like a draft – have some typos, crossing out, a coffee cup stain etc (because it’s hard to amend something that’s so perfect it looks like the finished version)

Option 2: Use Some Old Objectives

This option works well for ‘generic’ objectives such as ‘customer service’ ‘team working’ ‘communication skills’ and so on. The idea is you use some old objectives (ask around – someone must have some!). It doesn’t really matter how good or bad they are, simply ask your staff member to re write them until they describe what good performance looks like for their job

Option 3: Use Other Resources

Another option is to use resources in the business that can be easily adapted as performance objectives. Here are some examples

• Job descriptions

• Person specifications

• Performance standards

• Competency descriptions

• Handbooks (e.g. staff handbook)

• Guidance notes

• Training manuals

What you (and your staff member) are looking for her are any descriptions of effective performance that can simply be rewritten as a performance objective


The key point here is that, regardless of what you use, you and your staff member are simply working together to answer the question

What does good performance look like for this part of the job?

Do you want to read more about Performance Objectives?

performance objectivesWhy not take a look at my e-book ‘Motivating Your Staff with Powerful Performance Objectives’ – a step-by-step guide for managers, team leaders and supervisors who want to motivate their staff to high performance. More details HERE

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