Performance appraisals have become an essential part of managing employees. By routinely meeting with workers, leaders can review the quality of their work and make suggestions for improvement. In recent years, businesses have realized the many benefits of making goal-setting a part of the appraisal process because it is important to keep the employee’s own professional development goals in mind during the process.

Goal-Setting During Performance Reviews

If you’re the manager preparing a performance review, you should set up the appraisal to include goal setting from the start. Make an appraisal a positive event for the employee. Look at the feedback you’re giving and consider a goal that could improve each item, even if the employee is already doing a great job. Make sure you leave sufficient time at the end of the meeting to have a goal-setting discussion with the employee.

If you’re the employee awaiting your review, make a list of the professional development goals you’d like to achieve and take it to the meeting. Your boss will appreciate the fact that you’re interested in proactively improving your performance.

Professional Development Goals

A sizable portion of your goal-setting session should be devoted to professional development goals. What hopes does the employee have for their career? What are the steps to achieve those goals? Examples of goals for work may include an employee wanting to eventually become part of management, for instance, and attending meetings with team leaders could help with that. The employee may also want to stop procrastinating, which can be achieved by making to-do lists that will keep her on track.

If managers work with their employees to make sure they achieve their own career goals, they’re more likely to see happy, productive workers who want to stay with the company, rather than leave to work for a competitor.

Revisiting Your Progress

Setting development goals for work is only effective if you check back on the employee's progress. Schedule performance reviews at least once a year, preferably twice, and keep the employee’s goals in the forefront as you’re preparing for the review. The employee will hopefully remain accountable for those goals between appraisals and be able to show the actions taken toward reaching them. If the goals address a previously stated issue, you should be seeing improvements on that issue from one performance review to the next. If not, work with the employee to determine what resources you can provide to help him improve.