Ignoring your performance goals hurt your rating (I am guilty of this)

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Nov 29

How many of you create your goals with your manager? Yes, everyone.

How many of you create your goals and then ignore them until it is time to do your mid-year and year-end performance review?

I raise my hand to that one this year (not every year). I'm paying (literally) for it, too.

At a minimum -- put it on your calendar as an event! -- you should review your goals once a quarter. Once a quarter is a good time frame -- you should have made progress on your goals and you can ensure your focus is correct on what to do for the next 12-weeks

There are other reasons to review your goals quarterly.

Your goal no longer applies to your work

Business changes -- sometimes, quickly. I've had my work direction change over the years quite often. What seemed like a logical goal at the beginning of the year becomes this hanging chad at the end of the year.

You might think that doesn't have an impact. You might be right.

What it does do is force you to put faith in your manager that the goal won't matter in your review -- that the little work you did before directions changed won't become an issue.

But that depends on your manager. And, if you read this site, you know I don't want to depend on my manager for something I could have addressed.

By reviewing your goals quarterly, you can spot these irrelevant goals and work with your manager to update or change them. Doing so will give you more accomplishments on your performance review -- and show that you are working with management as the business changes.

The weighting of your goal materially changes

Going into the year, a goal might only be, say, 15% of your total weighting. Looks good to start with. 

But now, the goal has become the main part of the work you are doing -- way more than the 15% weighting provided.

What happens here is that if your manager goes through and gives you an Outstanding (not likely in today's corporate environment), you only get that awesome rating count for 15% of your total rating. 

When it should have been, say, 50% because of the direction of your work. 

Your development focus changes

This one kicked me. At the beginning of the year, I thought a couple of development areas to improve my job skills would come into play. But they didn't. 

Instead, each of them got blown out of the water for different reasons. The net, though, is I didn't really have any development opportunities this year -- because I didn't review my goals and change to a different development goal. 

Will it hurt my performance review rating? Probably not.

What I did lose out on, though, was the ability to develop my job skills in a different area than what I had projected when the year started.

When you take the approach that your current job should help you expand your job skills to get you ready for the next job, I missed out.

Goals review is about change

Your goals should change over the course of the year because business direction changes. Without reviewing your goals quarterly, you miss opportunities, risk your performance review rating, and put your rating more in the hands of your manager.

Now, if you do all of these reviews, work with your manager on changes, and be mindful about your development, will it change your rating?

It could. But maybe it won't. 

The big difference is that by quarterly reviewing your goals and working with your manager, you significantly reduce the risk of getting a lower rating than you otherwise would have. You don't put your manager in the position of ignoring your goals to make the right decision on your performance rating.

For as little time it takes to put quarterly reviews on your calendar and take a half hour a quarter to update goals with your manager, it's well worth the risk reduction.

After all, it's just your salary increase and bonus at stake.

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