Setting objectives for individual team members is often regarded by managers as an unnecessary and time-consuming task because by the time these are reviewed, usually once a year during the annual review, they are obsolete. They feel that people’s job descriptions, coupled with a chat during their annual appraisal, should be enough for them to know what needs doing .
The ability to set objectives effectively is, however, a valuable weapon in a manager’s armoury. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals help to keep people energised, focused on the right tasks and aligned to the overall business direction. As well as being SMART, the best objectives will take into account the skills and overall development needs of each individual for their career and stretch them as much as possible. Not only will these objectives be reached, the person will have grown in the process. Without these, they may never have gotten there or known they could!
Clear objectives, which are regularly reviewed, also help ensure teams are agile enough to respond to sudden market changes or shifts in internal priorities.
Here are five reasons why managers need to shift their mind-set and start to see objective setting as an integral part of the way they manage their teams.
Giving difficult feedback is part and parcel of every manager’s job. Maybe someone isn’t pulling their weight in the team and it’s causing a bad atmosphere. Perhaps a project has gone badly off course and is in danger of derailing completely. Or maybe an employee has inadvertently upset a client, who is now threatening to take their business elsewhere.
Whatever the reason, it’s probably fair to say that pulling people up on some aspect of their performance or behaviour is a task most managers dread. They are unsure about how best to deliver the message, worried about how people will react and unsure of what they should do if the employee gets angry or upset.
But shoving issues under the carpet and hoping they will go away is not an option. If employees are not aware that their behaviour is causing an issue, they will continue to behave in exactly the same way. If people are going about a task the wrong way, they won’t know unless someone tells them. And if a team member is ‘coasting’ and continues to get away with it, resentment will start to build and there will be a knock-on effect on the rest of the team.
A useful way to approach giving difficult feedback is to shift your mind-set and look at it in a different light. If you regard feedback as an opportunity to motivate the team and help them grow, rather than a task to be dreaded, it becomes a valuable tool that can help you raise morale and performance. It’s always helpful to recognise that generally most people actively want to do a good job. In fact, I’ve never yet come across people who just go to work day in and day out, not caring about their job or the work they produce. Often, they are just unaware of their impact or gaps in their knowledge, and would welcome feedback that is delivered with a genuine intent to help them improve.
So what are the key steps managers need to take to ensure difficult feedback is given in a constructive manner that helps people move forward?
So you’ve found the perfect candidate and everyone is looking forward to the new recruit joining the team. But a successful hiring process is just the beginning of the story.
If a new recruit is to hit the ground running, a carefully thought-out induction is vital. Those first few days are crucial to helping a new employee get clear about their role, build the right relationships and settle into the team.
All too often, however, managers are so busy, and so relieved simply to have someone on board, that they do a hasty run-down of the practicalities, brief a few key tasks and then leave the new recruit to sort the rest of it out for themselves.
The result of this ‘hands-off’ approach is often that people flounder through their first weeks, not really sure if they are doing the right thing – or in the worst case scenario, feel unwelcome in the business, fail to integrate properly and quite quickly leave.
If you suspect that recruitment or inductions are to blame for high staff turnover, keeping an eye on you leavers’ data can be useful, especially when departures happen within the first six months of a candidate starting with your company. And it goes without saying that high turnover impacts massively on your bottom line…
So what are the key elements of an induction programme that will ensure a new recruit gets off to a flying start?
Millennial workers generally get pretty bad press. They’re accused of being disloyal, self-centred and lacking in respect for their managers. They want constant praise and quick promotion – and if they don’t get it, they’ll be off to the next job in the blink of an eye (well, within two years anyway).
They are, however, also the future workforce and will have a huge impact on the way businesses evolve in the future.
So, is what we hear about millennial workers true?