Key Performance Objectives
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By Pat Fontana

Setting key performance objectives that are measurable not only help your employee but can help you grow your organisation.

Just as a business plan provides goals for the organization to reach over the course of a given period of time, written key performance objectives will provide tangible goals for your employees.

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Performance objectives should be based on the specific responsibilities of each employee, combined with the needs and goals of the overall organization.

Elements of Key Performance Objectives

Key performance objectives for your employees should be measurable. For example, the employee must achieve a sales goal in terms of cash amounts or new customers.

Objectives should be based on a timeline. The employee might be required to achieve the objectives in three months, six months, or before the next performance review.

Objectives should be attainable and realistic. Expecting an employee to achieve a billion dollars in sales within 60 days is unrealistic.

Finally, key performance objectives should be clearly worded using action words. For example, the employee will achieve customer satisfaction with a complaint rate of less than five percent.

Customer-Focused Objectives

Some examples of customer-focused key performance objectives include attendance. Employees must show up for work to provide quality customer service. Set a goal of a percentage or number of attendance days the employee must meet within the performance period. Another example is to measure complaints and compliments received in relation to the total number of customer interactions. This type of objective works well for an employee on the front line, greeting or taking calls from customers.

Financially Focused Objectives

Financial goals for your employees should align with the goals outlined in your overall business plan. Growth projections should include the ability of employees to secure new contracts or achieve sales goals. Tracking new customers or contracts, for example, can measure the value of new business brought in by the employee. A measurable objective can also be applied to cost savings when purchasing equipment or other supplies during the performance period. Another common example is to measure sales goals. For employees involved in direct sales of products or services, the most measurable goal is to attain a certain dollar amount of sales within a given time frame.

Employee-Growth Objectives

Companies that want to encourage employee growth can incorporate relevant career-oriented key performance objectives related to the employees’ educational development. For example, you could state that the employee should participate in a certain number of continuing education courses during a 12-month period. The courses should relate to the employee’s current or aspiring position. An employee whose performance depends on a technical certification can have a goal to obtain that certification within a given period of time.

All these objectives must be carved out of the overall organizational goals and objectives and when clearly spelt out, lead to increased productivity and enhanced result.

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