This question comes from Keira:
My boss has recently asked me to write a set of measurable goals for her based on my responsibilities but I’m not sure how to go about it – how can I measure what I do on a daily basis (answer phones, field emails/calls, event management/planning) etc?
It’s often difficult to come up with measurable goals when many of our duties are routine. There are some things you can use, though.
This is an easily measurable goal. You either receive training or you don’t. You could, for instance, set a goal of attending two trainings in the coming year. Another possibility is joining a professional organization like the IAAP. You could also look at pursuing a degree, perhaps taking a class a semester. Another option is joining OfficeArrow (affiliate link), which includes free on-line training with a paid membership. Usually your department will have funds set aside for training which could be used to pay for any of these possibilities. Talk to your boss about it.
Although much of our duties are routine, we certainly have deadlines that we must meet. Set a goal of meeting deadlines 75% of the time. Then each year as you achieve your goal, you can set it a bit higher the next year. You might want to create a form for tasks with deadlines that the person requesting the task can fill out. This gives you the tracking data you need to calculate your success.
I’ve often found when looking at performance evaluations and setting goals that neither my boss nor I realize just how much time is spent on various duties. Often a good first goal is to do a time study for your positions. Spend at least several months tracking the time you spend on various tasks. From there you and your boss can look at where your time is actually spent, and together you can decide where your position is heading and what your goals should be for the coming year. You may find you are spending way too much time on one task. Perhaps you need more training to do that task better. Perhaps that is a task that can be delegated. You don’t really know until you can pinpoint exactly what it is you do every day.
Past evaluations can be a good clue as to where you need improvement. Look at items you were marked lowest and think of measurable goals that might go with those items. You may need to use some creativity to find ways to measure some performances. Sometimes just the amount of youtube views on a video your assistant has uploaded might be enough, sometimes it’s just not accurate enough. Think about the end result you need to achieve and then what needs to happen to achieve that result. Who needs to answer about your improvement or lack thereof. For instance, if you were taken to task about being a team player, perhaps you need a quarterly form filled out by your team members asking about your performance in that area?
If you don’t already have one, create a desk reference manual that details all of the procedures you use for your regular tasks. Having a reference manual is invaluable if you have to be out of the office and have a temp covering. Include things like filing procedures, travel arrangements, daily schedule, little details about how your boss likes things done. Whatever you do on a daily basis, document how you do it and include it in your manual.
Look at where your department spends money and see if you can find ways to reduce the amount you spend on certain items. Of course, if you are in a big company, you often don’t have a choice of venders, but you can look at procedures to see what they cost the company and if procedural changes can make a cost difference. Remember, time savings are money savings as well.
Whatever you set for your goals, remember not to set them extremely high the first time. Goals need to be achievable. Set them lower the first time, and then in coming evaluation periods, you can set them higher in each following period.
What goals do you set for your performance evaluation? How do you make them measurable? Leave a comment and let’s learn from each other.