Planning and Goal Setting

Mary Hao, Director, Human Resources


The planning phase of the annual performance cycle is the process of establishing and communicating goals and expectations.

Clear expectations are incredibly important in building strong and productive workplaces. The question, “Do I know what is expected of me at work?” heads the list of 12 questions to emerge from the Gallup organization’s research into effective workplaces. Gallup discovered that affirmative responses to this question in workplace surveys directly correlated with business outcomes such as productivity, employee retention, and customer satisfaction. 1

This attached worksheet provides an approach to communicating performance expectations that covers three aspects of job performance:

  1. Annual goals or key performance areas
    • Important work and outcomes
  2. Performance standards
    • What success looks like
  3. Alignment
    • How individual goals connect to the bigger organizational picture.

A fourth aspect - the employee’s developmental goals – integrates performance with growth.

The process of shaping the year’s goals and expectations provides managers with opportunities for enhancing the work experience of their employees by connecting them to the meaning and purpose of their work, by allowing for greater autonomy and self-direction, and by planning deliberately for growth and mastery. The YouTube video by Daniel Pink presents compelling research on motivation at work.

1Buckingham, Marcus and Coffman Curt. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 1999.