Hi Evil HR Lady,
I need your help!
This will be the first year my company uses SMART approach to do the performance management. As a manager, I am supposed to set up measurable objectives for my subordinates. It’s not a problem for me to set up measurable objectives for my assistant managers as they have deadlines to meet. But when it comes to my secretary and the clerical staff, I am not sure how to set measurable goals for them as their duties are very routine and tedious. Could you give me some examples?
First, let’s talk about the SMART method. This is where performance criteria are based on the following:
The Evil One (who apparently has taken to referring to herself in the 3rd person. She promises this will stop shortly) finds this a downright delightful method of doing performance appraisals and goal setting. (Which should be done in the reverse order, but I find backspacing so tedious.)
It can be difficult to do the first time around. Here’s a question that you can ask yourself to help you get started:
How do you know if [insert position]is doing a good job?
As you begin the objective setting process as yourself this question. Then really think about it. Let’s see, you know your secretary is doing a good job when he is on time to work, promptly sorts mail, keeps your schedule, arranges teleconferences and travel, produces monthly reports and runs interference when you want to avoid your boss.
Let’s do two of these as SMART objectives
First, an easy one–Produces Monthly Reports:
Specific–Secretary will produce Reports A, B, and C
Measurable–Reports A, B, and C will be formatted according to guidelines and contain zero errors
Achievable–yes, reports are standard and not complex, 100% accuracy is possible
Relevant–yes, this goal applies to the job of secretary
Time Frame–reports will be produced by the 5th of each month
Keeps Boss’s Schedule–A little more difficult.
Specific–Secretary will schedule meetings, ensure boss’s knowledge of such meetings, work with other administrative staff to coordinate schedules. There is a problem here–not specific or measurable enough. Let’s try again
Specific (revised)–Secretary will schedule meetings on same day of request and provide written schedule on boss’s desk for next day by 5:00 p.m. previous day.
Measurable: Secretary will keep a spreadsheet of meeting request, time requested, and time scheduled to track turn around time. 100% success rate expected. Boss responsible for tracking schedule on desk.
Achievable–No way. Anyone whose ever tried to schedule meetings knows that getting all relevant parties available at the same time is like herding cats. To require a secretary to get all meetings scheduled on the same days as requested would lead to guaranteed failure and your secretary wouldn’t like you. Revise the success rate to 75% and then you have an achievable, yet still difficult, goal.
Relevant–Yes. This is a core responsibility and something the secretary should have control over.
Time Frame–Yes. Daily requirements and specific deadlines (same day, 5:00 p.m.)
Hopefully this helps get you started. Just remember–how will you know when this person is successful?