Setting objectives is fundamental to the performance improvement process. Objectives allow managers to define and steer the expectations of a staff member's performance.
A clear set of objectives should be established and used as a reference point for performance reviews and assessing performance levels. Any set objectives must be recorded as part of a member of staff's performance improvement plan.
Objectives can include:
- Meeting targets
- Completing ad hoc tasks by specified dates
- Meeting ongoing standards
Objectives should be set using the specific, measureable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) framework.
- Is the objective clear and concise?
- Does the member of staff understand what needs to be achieved?
- Does the objective require input from other parties (e.g. clinical educators or training)?
- What criteria will be used to measure the performance?
- Is it quantifiable?
- Can the objectives be achieved in the timescales outlined?
- Are the objectives relevant to the member of staff’s job role?
- Are the objectives relevant to the department?
- Has a time period been defined for the objectives to be achieved by?
SMART objective examples
The table below outlines some examples of good and bad SMART objectives.
|SMART objective||Not a SMART objective|
|Develop IT skills by attending the 'Basic IT Workshop' on a specific date and feedback learning at the next team meeting||Improve IT skills|
|Complete filing in a timely manner by ensuring letters are added to patients' files within 14 days of receipt||Clear backlog of filing|
Using clear and concise SMART framework objectives allows managers to assess performance levels and identify further areas of improvement.