It goes without saying that, for your employees to understand what they are expected to do every day, they need clear individual goals. A good way to define them is by using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) format. For example, “Johnny will reply within 48 hours to all queries received by him.”
Try to link these goals to your organisational goals, so your people feel connected to your business’s purpose and can see how they help to fulfill it. We’ve found this to be genuinely motivating to our employees.
Individual goals should be linked to key performance indicators (KPIs), which can cover a host of things – such as amount of work done or quality of output – depending on what your business does. For Johnny, a KPI would be his response times.
Such quantitative analysis is really helpful because it provides a rich source of data for understanding how people in the organisation are working. But it’s best to assess your staff’s performance using a mix of quantitative and qualitative measures.
A helpful way of setting up qualitative measurement is to refer to your business values (or define them, if you haven’t already), and figure out what behaviours reflect them. For example, a high-growth business might put strong emphasis on staff winning new customers through excellent people management.
Clearly list these behaviours in the same goal-setting document as your quantitative measures. When they are exhibited by your employee – as noticed by you, their colleagues, customers or even suppliers – you can recognise that person.
(On goal setting in general, I recommend The Ideal Team Player, by Patrick Lencioni as a great source of inspiration.)