Personal Development Objectives
One of the key drivers pertaining to employee engagement and organisational performance is personal development. In fact, there is a strong correlation between personal development and employee retention. Retaining employees is a major and ongoing concern for almost every employer. That is the reason why Personal Development Plans (PDPs) is a component of the performance management systems of the majority of organisations. But despite several advantages displayed by PDPs, they have invited a lot of criticism. Hence, HR professionals are reconsidering and re-examining PDPs as a concept and they seem to be looking for alternatives. One of the main problems around PDPs is that they are treated as a mere pay slip generating service and then forgotten completely. The outcome is a sheer waste of time not only for employees but also for managers. That is why it is recommended that PDPs need to be replaced with SMART Personal Development Objectives which are thoroughly updated and reviewed on a regular basis.
By converting PDPs into SMART objectives, it offers them more weight and encourages employees to be accountable and deliver accordingly. Thus you must encourage employees to set SMART objectives along with performance-related objectives. This enables the HR function to collate these development objectives to determine the training requirement of the organisation.
When create and implement personal development objectives in your organisation, follow the below-mentioned steps for optimal impact:
1. Educate your employees regarding personal development objectives: It is important for HR professionals to keep in mind that it is very much likely for employees to be unfamiliar with the concept of objective setting. You should include goal-setting techniques as part of training programs or the communication that goes out from the HR. Explain clearly to your employees the meaning of personal development objectives and their significance. Make arrangements to provide a lot of supporting learning materials to your employees on objective setting. Make these learning materials easily accessible to your employees. One of the most effective media for communicating HR concepts is via short, sharp videos. So you need to ensure that you provide short animated videos for your employees on performance related subjects that include writing effective objectives.
2. Encourage your employees to own their objectives: It’s quite a normal outcome that whenever you create objectives, you are likely to be much more motivated to accomplish them. Keeping this mantra in mind, ensure that your employees frame their own personal development objectives instead of merely following them as dictated by management. This change in approach will have a lot more impact in terms of driving productivity and performance of your employees. You can always have the managers around to help and advise as and when required, but ensure that your employees are the driving the initiative. Whenever you ask your employees to take into consideration their personal development objectives, make it quite clear to them that the objectives need not always pertain to an aspect that they need to improve upon. The objectives can be about nurturing and developing an already existing strength of theirs.
3. Ensure to review the personal development objectives at regular intervals: You need to understand the fact that the exercise of setting personal development objectives should not be just an annual activity for your employees. In fact, you must ensure that your employees and managers set time specifically aside at an ongoing basis to sit down and review these objectives. These regular check-ins are important as they provide an opportunity to share feedback, review the progress that’s been made, identify any roadblocks, and agree upon new objectives once the previously set ones are accomplished successfully. You must ensure that your employees have access to a performance management system that’s online so that it is easier for them to keep a track of their objectives and the check-ins. In case you feel that an online system is too much for your small-scale organisation, then you can take the help of offline performance management tools such as one-to-one meeting template.
Stretching personal development objectives
Research has been conducted on goal setting to determine whether people are more likely to perform well when working on challenging goals or more comfortable deliverables. The research revealed that when goals are stretched, they result in significantly higher performance. This should be kept in mind when agreeing on personal development objectives, but remember to keep things in perspective. Objectives that stretch an individual beyond the limit of their capabilities will not be achieved and you will be left with an employee feeling frustrated, anxious and unmotivated.
If the above points are kept in mind, your organisation can expect to boost performance and embrace a productive working environment.