Goal setting can be an effective way of increasing productivity in the workplace. It gives workers something to aim for and, linked to performance related pay, it can tap into extra effort.
That’s the ideal scenario, but it can go wrong if it’s implemented badly. Michelle Brown, Associate Professor at the Department of Management & Marketing at the University of Melbourne, says problems start when the benefits are oversold to employees. In theory, more pay for hitting objectives can turn to cynicism when employees realise that the goals are unlikely to be achieved because they don’t have the resources to meet them.
Cynicism is like a disease — once acquired you’d assume people’s behaviour will become destructive and have the opposite to the intended impact of the performance appraisal scheme. In this edition of BTalk I ask Michelle if that’s the case and, if confronted with the problem with your staff, how do you fix the issue?
The bad news for managers is that it all involves time — time spent tracking performance through the year and time spent ensuring the right objectives are set in the first place. But there again, isn’t managing people the main function of a manager’s job?