Hurdler In ActionThis is the time of year when many public employees are struggling to set performance goals for the coming year. Are you staring at the computer screen wondering where to start? Here are four kinds of goals that you might consider when establishing your performance goals.

1.   Essence of the Job Goals – These are the goals that clearly describe tasks that are required on the job.  For example, an accountant might have a goal to prepare and submit monthly financial statements.  A librarian might have a goal to catalogue and reshelf returned books within 12 hours.  A mail clerk might have a goal that requires her to deliver all mail daily to all work sites.  Essence of the job goals make the expectations for the job clearer than they are listed on the job description.  These goals personalize the job to the position and to the individual employee by providing a measurable target.

2.   Project Goals – Project goals are those activities that you pursue with a beginning and an end and may be above and beyond the employee’s routine duties.  Project goals can be related to improving systems, developing new products, creating new programs, or finishing a task that just hasn’t gotten done before.

3.   Professional Development Goals – Professional development goals specify what you will learn in the coming year.  While attending a class to learn something new is nice, I challenge you to find new ways to develop your skills while clearly linking your learning to the organization’s needs.  For example, “cross training in a new work area at least one day per week” is a professional development goal. A better goal would be to cross train in the accounting department at least once per week and be able to reconcile bank statements by October 31. Or, “attend a training class on PowerPoint and develop a new slide show to be used in new employee orientation” would be more challenging than just attending the class.  Make sure the professional development goals not only develop your skills, but also help your organization.

4.   Performance Improvement Goals – Performance improvement goals should be saved for those times when it’s clear your behavior must change.  Performance improvement goals include things like, “arrive to work ready to serve customers at 8 a.m. every day” or “limit the number of customer complaints you receive to three per quarter.”  Obviously, not everyone needs these kinds of goals.  However, they can be helpful in documenting your improvements over time. 

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