What are Performance Objectives?

What are Performance Objectives?

Performance objectives are simple written descriptions of what good performance in the job looks like. They describe:

  • the ‘what’ of the job – the quantity, quality and time elements
  • the ‘how’ of the job – the behaviours

The ‘what’ of the job – quantifiable objectives

 We use quantifiable objectives to describe what good performance looks like for those parts of your employees job can be counted or easily measured. So they relate to; money, deadlines, accuracy, quality, speed and numbers. Basically they answer three questions:

Three questions for quantifiable objectives

 1. How much / how many?

e.g. improve sales by $2k per quarter

2. What’s the quality standard that needs to be achieved?

e.g. follow the procedures laid down in the safety handbook

 3. By when / How quickly?

e.g  by 31st June

Many people think that performance objectives relate only to the ‘what’ of the job – the quantifiable. Not so! Performance objectives are a brilliant management technique for describing…

The ‘how’ of the job – behavioural objectives

We use behavioural performance objectives to describe what good performance looks like for those parts of the job that relate to how your employee performs – to their behaviours

Let’s take an example:

This is Sue. Sue is a receptionist.

Performance ObjectivesOne of her responsibilities is to answer the telephone (I guess the earpiece was a giveaway?). You have decided to agree some performance objectives with Sue

So you agree a quantifiable objective:

  • Consistently demonstrate you answer the telephone within three rings

 Great. Let’s say that’s all that you agree with Sue

Here’s the good news – Sue answers each and every call within three rings

Here’s the bad news – this is what you overheard Sue just saying to a caller:

“Hello. Who do you wanna talk to? I said which department do you want? What? Look, do you want sales or marketing?  What? Can’t you talk more clearly? Who? Managing Director? Not sure who that is. Do we have one? Oh Joe you mean? Nah he’s not here, I guess he’s on the golf course as usual. Opening hours? Err 9 to 5 I guess, or maybe 8 to 6?. Hello? Hello?”

The point is, very few jobs are just about the quantifiable. Behaviours (like the way our receptionist Sue answers the telephone) are crucially important

Here’s are a range of behavioural performance objectives we could agree with Sue

Examples of Objectives

Consistently demonstrate:

1. Answering the telephone by giving the name of the business and your name

2. Asking open questions to gain information and understanding

3. Asking probing questions to gain deeper understanding

3. Reflecting back in order to achieve clarity and demonstrate listening

4. The information given is accurate

5. Checking the other person has accurately understood the information given 

SummaryThe purpose of performance objectives

Performance objectives clearly define what good performance looks like for the employee’s job – for both the quantifiable and behavioural parts

The purpose of performance objectives is to ensure that your employees know exactly what they need to do in order for you to consider them to be a good performer and, consequently, what they need to do to help your team / business / organisation to meet its goals.

You can read a whole lot more about performance objectives and how you can use them to improve employee performance and job satisfaction by grabbing a copy of my FREE Special ReportPerformance Objectives Made Easy’ today!

Find out how to ACCESS over 200 Performance Objectives you can cut and paste and use to begin improving employee performance and satisfaction – right now!


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