As manager, you need to determine how the goals and objectives for your department are set. These goals might be established through your boss, upper management, or might even be determined by you. In any case, the goals are most likely based on industry standards, or using the competition as a benchmark. No matter how the goals are set; you need to fully understand their meaning. You also have to be able to clearly communicate these goals with your staff.
Your employees need to firmly know what is expected of them. They should be able to quote these goals when asked, and have the meaning of these goals engrained into their memory. This way they will always have a unified focus on where they are now, and where they need to be headed. Goal setting encourages employees to put in substantial effort; because they know exactly what is expected of them. There is little room left for a lack of effort going unnoticed. Goal setting also provides direction and a sense of purpose. Goals are the motivating force to work harder. To make the goals worthwhile, there needs to be a reward of some sort, once the goal is achieved. We will discuss more about compensation and rewards in Lesson 3.
You should set up both long-term and short-term goals. The long-term goals capture the main objective. The short-term goals provide guidance on a day-to-day basis to meet that objective. An example of a long-term goal would be to improve customer satisfaction ratings from 80% to 95%. The short-term goals towards that increased customer satisfaction would be to address issues such as service outages, provide more technical training, focus on personal skills, or to develop a more standard format to increase efficiency. The short-term goals should always be related to the greater good of the long-term goal. If the long-term goal is measured in months, then the short-term goals should be achieved in just a few days, or a couple of weeks. Determining the timeframe of long-term and short-term goals can vary depending on the size or severity of the project.
Dealing with numbers is a necessary part of being a manager, and is the nature of business. Managers have to deal with schedules, production costs, service statistics, quality measures, and satisfaction results, just to name a few. Numbers should be an important part of the guiding principles in running your department, however, not the only driving force. You need to set targets and goals, but if you live by the numbers alone, you might lose the personal touch. Your employees will be more worried about their personal stats, rather than providing a pleasant customer experience. For example, if a company prides themselves on providing an exceptional customer experience, yet the employees are being judged with the amount of orders they took, not by the extra personal customer touch they gave, you are in for a conflict of interest. Besides, once they hit their quota, they may not be inspired to do any extra work.
It is a fine art to balance the metrics with a personal touch. For example, you need your customer service representatives to quickly answer the calls, provide the information, and get to the next call as soon as possible so that you do not have too many customers on hold (which is a measured metric). You might hit your numbers, but the customer felt rushed and did not have a pleasant customer experience. If, however, you gave too much attention to every call, then you would have longer hold times, thus aggravated customers who just wanted a quick and easy answer, thus poor customer satisfaction ratings because of long hold times. This is a typical catch-22 scenario that most managers have to face.
Structuring your department to its optimum plays a key role in these types of situations. The skills taught in this lesson and throughout this course will help you face these types of scenarios.
Here is a list of some typical goals and objectives that are common within a business that you might have to face as a manager: