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Employee Performance Management and
Appraisals Demystified


STEP 2: SETTING PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES (POs)

The KPAs are next "broken up" into specific Performance Objectives (POs).

A Performance Objective (also just referred to as an Objective) is a short, concise description of measurable output/outcome that will contribute to the attainment of performance in a KPA.

FORMAT OF OBJECTIVES

Objectives need to be put in OUTCOME terms, i.e. WHAT SPECIFICALLY should be ACHIEVED - a measurable and specific identifiable product or service that an internal or external customer wants.

This is necessary as the methods (steps) used in achieving a particular objective, often vary, and should therefore not be prescribed. Prescribing in detail how a specific task should be done will relegate an employee to the level of a robot, taking away his/her initiative and individuality (exceptions will be where safety is critical, or where a specific best-practice operational procedure needs to be followed).

Objectives consist of two elements: An Action Verb, and a Noun or Object. Some objectives become even clearer when the Purpose of the action is also added.

Let's look at some examples of objectives:

ACTION VERB + NOUN/OBJECT (plus PURPOSE if necessary)
-Conduct a client survey to establish their changed needs.
-Research and implement an employee suggestion scheme.
-Develop a computerized financial system to replace the present manual version.
-Launch a marketing campaign to promote our 'Y' service.
-Increase sales of product 'Z'.
-Ensure appropriate stock levels.

Objectives should also include Performance Standards. These are listed along with each Objective, but preferably kept in a separate column on the Employee Performance Agreement/Appraisal Form to make them easily identifiable (also see Step 3: Setting Performance Standards):

So the format is:

KPAs
Performance Objectives
Performance Standards
1. KPA 1 1.1 Objective 1 a
b
c
1.2 Objective 2 a
b

Where Job/Role Descriptions exist that have KPAs with their related Key Performance Outcomes (KPOs), these KPOs could/should be used to derive Performance Objectives from. The latter will be phrased differently though, as KPOs are put in generic terms and standards, whereas POs are decided for a specific performance period, incorporating specific performance standards, e.g.:

KPOs as per Job/Role Description
POs for specific performance period
Achieve sales as agreed with Sales Manager. Achieve sales of $300,000 by October 31, 2015.
Conduct customer needs surveys as dictated by prevailing company marketing priorities. Conduct a customer needs survey in regions A & B to determine the potential demand for our new product X.
Research and develop new product lines to maintain company competitiveness and profitability. R&D a gadget that will enable car owners to remove wheelnuts with an electric drill.


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