August 4th, 2009
Performance objectives (also called performance standards and performance plans) describe what an employee will do to meet specific job requirements. Clearly written objectives define expectations for the employee. They also provide a standard against which the person’s performance can be compared.
Here’s an example:
Jared’s job description states that he is responsible for filling the book orders that come in on his shift.
How would you write a performance objective for Jared that is SMART?
One of his objectives might be:
Follow the steps in the “Fill Orders” procedure to fill each book order that comes in on your shift. All orders must be filled within two working days.
Here are some tips for writing performance objectives:
- Focus on describing the results you want to achieve, not the activities you will perform.
- Do more than simply retate your job duties.
- Use the “who, what, and when” approach. State clearly what will be accomplished, who is going to accomplish it, and by when.
- Begin objectives with an action verb.
- Make sure objectives are SMART.
What is SMART?
To be useful, most performance objectives should meet the following SMART criteria:
- Specific – Are they specific?
- Measurable – Are they measurable?
- Achievable – Are they achievable?
- Realistic – Are they realistic given the resources available?
- Time – Are they time-bound?
More information about SMART objectives, examples of objectives that are more difficult to measure, and activities and exercises can be found in Lesson 1 of Write It Well’s new book, Writing Performance Reviews: A Write It Well Guide.