This is a guide to assist staff with setting and writing work objectives that are SMART and aligned with faculty/centre's operational plan and ECU's strategic priorities.
What is a Work Objective?
A work objective is a mutually understood agreement about a specific work outcome that a staff member is expected to achieve during the MPS cycle.
It is not a list of all the activities (often action items)/ responsibilities of the staff member's role.
It is a direct link between the work the employee performs and the faculty/centre's operational plan and ECU's strategic priorities.
Why Set Work Objectives?
Setting SMART work objectives allows you to understand exactly where your role fits within the University and what your responsibilities are. You gain a better understanding of the value and contributions you bring to the University.
SMART work objectives focus on outcomes rather than activities and allow you to measure your own success.
With clear work objectives in mind, you are in a better position to review and revise these objectives as work demands change during the MPS cycle. SMART work objectives also enable your supervisor to focus your MPS discussion on measurable performance outcomes and facilitate the discussion of your development and career plans as part of the meeting. You can also seek ways to improve effectiveness, efficiencies and outcomes of the faculty/centre and to the overall performance outcomes of the University.
What is SMART?
SMART work objectives are:
Staff are strongly encouraged to be familiar with and utilise the SMART principles when setting their work objectives, indicators and targets. As a guide, consider the following statements:
- Is it clear and well defined
- Is it clear to anyone that has a basic knowledge of the work area
- Know if the goal is obtainable and how far away completion is
- Know when it has been achieved
- Agreement with all the stakeholders what the goals should be
- Is there a realistic path to achievement
- Within the availability of resources, knowledge and time
- Enough time to achieve the goal, is there a time limit
- Not too much time, which can affect work performance
What's in it for me?
MPS is a collaborative responsibility between you and your supervisor. You have as much responsibility in contributing to your work objectives and performance as your supervisor has in ensuring that work objectives are met and performance is of a high standard.
Staff loyalty and commitment stems from their involvement in the process. Thus, staff are encouraged to draft their work objectives following the SMART principles, aligning them with faculty/centre's operational plan and be prepared to present these to the supervisor for discussion.
What's in it for Staff?
- Setting objectives in consultation with the supervisor allows staff the opportunity to express the way the job gets done, raise concerns or ideas about what is to be accomplished.
- 'Sharing the load' increases the staff member's commitment and motivation to achieve the agreed objectives.
- Ensures that the staff member understand what the expectations and standards are.
- Clarifies what the priorities are and allows them to allocate their time and resources effectively.
- Provides a clear understanding of how the work will be measured and evaluated, enabling the staff member to assess their own performance, and make any improvements where required.
What's in it for Supervisors?
- Setting objectives in consultation with the staff member defines how each employee will contribute to the achievement of the team objectives, and those of the supervisor.
- Ensures work objectives achieve the goals of the faculty/centre.
- Provides the basis for the next MPS discussion and identifies areas of concern, where staff may require additional support or resources to achieve the agreed objectives.
Key Components of a Work Objective
Sets the situation and/or environment in which the staff member is required to work within, eg OS&H and other University related legislation.
Acceptable levels of Performance
Consider what level of performance is deemed acceptable in terms of Quality (i.e. how effectively the work should be performed), Quantity (i.e. how much is produced) and/or Timeliness (i.e. how quickly or in what timeframe the outcome is to be achieved).
Include clear measures (quality, quantity, cost, timeliness and frequency of completion) so both parties can track progress and readjust priorities if necessary, to ensure performance outcomes can be achieved.
Reach Your Potential