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Goals, Objectives, and Accountability: Key Ingredients to Employee Performance

manwitharrowOften times I speak of the “three evils” of hiring a new employee—e.g. the selection process, training process and last, but not least, the responsibility and accountability process. This article will focus on the latter. Fundamentally, besides typical poor hiring decisions/promotions and a lack of concise training, the biggest flaw we notice in the hiring process is the failure of companies to develop goals and objectives.

Most new hires will not immediately morph into superstar employees under their own motivation, typically even more prominent with today’s younger workforce. Therefore, as company owners and managers, we have a responsibility to the employee to set the course we expect them to follow.

How do we charter a path for the employee to follow you ask? It is quite simple and I suggest that the time and effort you put into it up front will pay huge dividends on the back end.

First off, it is imperative to develop a detailed job description. The job description encompasses three main categories. It outlines a brief description of the position as well as whom the position reports to in an organization. Secondly, it outlines a series of bullet points that are particular job requirements and responsibilities of the position. The third aspect of the job description details who in the organization this position may supervise or be accountable for in their position. A well thought-out job description is key to success and a building block for future personal growth. Also, don’t be afraid to update the job description in midstream as necessary. You will find that responsibilities evolve over a period of time so it is not uncommon to modify the job description to fit the needs of the company and the position.

The next step is to clearly define what the expectations are for the position. If it is a sales-related position, how many calls, appointments, mailers, meetings and proposals do you expect the employee to make on a weekly basis? If it’s an operational position, how many client contacts, employee evaluations, reduction in overtime and employee turnover and/or other operationally related issues do you expect the employee to contribute to the good of the company? The goals and objects you set at this stage must be carefully thought out, with the bottom line being setting goals and objectives that will contribute to the financial growth of the company. We urge you to make objectives obtainable, they also must require a serious amount of effort on the employee to meet those goals. Setting goals that are either too easy difficult to achieve defeats the whole purpose of goal setting and will do little to contribute to the bottom line. Add bonus and/or commissions as an added incentive to reach the goals; this way, both the employee and company win.

The third and most important aspect is accountability. I firmly believe that “employees respect what management inspects.” Therefore, taking the time in developing detailed job descriptions and goals /objectives will be wasted if you do not hold the employee accountable for their actions. We recommended developing, at minimum, weekly detailed reports that outline the activities for the employee for the previous week vs their assigned goals. It’s a must that a senior management level person reviews this information with the employee on a weekly basis, keeping them abreast of successes as well as failures. Are your employees respecting what you inspect? If you don’t inspect, give it a try; you will be amazed at the results.


Gary H. Kuty is a senior consultant and CEO of Kuty & Associates in Dayton, OH. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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