Target Setting in Performance Management

As the bleak financial climate continues to affect both public and private sectors there at times can be an enhanced focused on leaner agendas to facilitate a reduced service or as our Director commented within the newsletter an outsourcing agenda as proposed by Suffolk County Council.

What cannot happen is that the focus on targets and performance get lost in the panic to meet the accountants agenda. Managers still need to concentrate on service and individual performance and therefore my associates page is on this very subject.

A key element of managing performance is to set challenging but achievable targets against meaningful performance indicators. The achievement of these targets is a key element in an organisations duty to continually improve their services and to deliver their aims, objectives and priorities. Without performance targets the service vision cannot be quantified. Defining performance targets for your employees could help you to:

Knowing how the different areas of your organisation are performing is a valuable information tool and a good measurement system will allow you to examine the triggers for any changes in performance which will provide a platform to manage performance proactively.

Few tips on how Targets can be set...

After identifying key deliverables that drive your service performance and found a way to measure them, the next step will be to start setting performance targets to give everyone in the organisation a clear vision of what they should be aiming for.

Targets can be set by breaking your top level objectives down into smaller tangible targets you'll make it easier to manage the process of delivering them. In this way, targets form a fundamental relation between strategy and day-to-day operations.

Key area before setting any performance measurements is to establish the key drivers of your service, i.e. customer satisfaction. You will then need to decide on a Target Value based on what you are measuring and these could be:

After deciding on the target value it is important to establish the technique and the tools to monitor these values.

Having enough information to know what target to set is particularly an issue when there is no baseline, and this is often the case when an organisation adopts a new measure or all measures selected for corporate performance management systems are ones that were previously un-recorded. In such cases it may be necessary to first measure current performance for some months, before it will be possible to establish what a realistic target might be.

Targets should be reviewed regularly so it reflects the changes both within the service and nationally.
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