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Is objective setting old news?

Here we are already in February, when we realise that all those New Year resolutions we made like every previous year, are gradually fading away, unachieved and possibly completely forgotten at least until we start again next year.

With my business hat on, what is perhaps more worrying is that in many (most?) businesses we go through exactly the same process. Does that great institution, the annual performance review, where we diligently set objectives for each of our team ring any bells?

And then, for a variety of seemingly ‘good reasons’ (excuses?) we fail to achieve or even review these objectives on a frequent and regular basis.  Until we reach the year end again and everyone justifies why their objectives were unrealistic but their performance exemplary, fully deserving a pay rise and/or bonus.

A bit harsh, probably, but in my view the days of the annual performance review and the ritual setting of the next year’s objectives are on their way out.  An increasing number of businesses large and small have improved individual and business performance by tweaking the HR Process and abandoning the annual appraisal ritual and replacing this with frequent but short discussions on progress to date, course correction if required and associated actions and objectives.

The much beloved (at least by some HR people) annual appraisal forms (how many pages!) are being replaced by short bullet point notes on one side of A4 recording something along these lines:

• What’s gone well and why?

• What’s not gone well and why?

• What can you do to improve on/build on the above?

• Actions/KPIs/objectives for the next month/quarter

• What support do you need from me (manager) and or the team?

Of course there are important issues often discussed at annual appraisals such as training needs, career development and the like that are more suited to annual or biannual discussions – which is fine, just don’t mix these directly with the regular and frequent discussions around individual and business performance.

If your business could benefit from a fresh look at how to improve performance just drop us an email hello@peoplepuzzles.co.uk.

This is an inspiring story and its all true. I can’t believe it’s about us! We’ve accomplished a lot over the last 18 months.

Joseph Carr, Managing Director, Carrs Pasties

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