Performance vs Development Goals

  • Ezra
  • September 7th, 2021

Performance and development are really two sides to the same organizational coin. Ezra discusses how your business can progress the two in tandem to bring about the greatest results.

Performance vs Development Goals

Business comes with the duality between the short-term and the long-term. In order to see the bigger picture, you’ve got to be aware of your own patch, and develop appropriate skills. When it comes to the notions of performance and development, these are two distinct categories that need addressing together to create an effective employee. But what are the differences between the two, and where do they overlap in professional development? 

What are performance goals? 

Performance goals are defined as job responsibilities, and the key performance outcomes the employee should strive to achieve. Usually, they are linked to the company’s key performance indicators (KPIs) and are usually related to the responsibilities that should be accomplished over the course of the business year. 

In the battle between short and long-term effectiveness of performance goals, they tend to be short-term objectives for specific duties within the employees’ current job position and job description. The goals tend to relate to the company or the department. These goals help the individual to know what is expected in their position. A few examples of performance goals include the following:

  • Increase customer satisfaction by 13 percent by the next quarter. 
  • Reduce expenses by 15 percent by the second quarter. 
  • Increase sales by 20 percent by the end of the next fiscal year. 
  • Create a framework to align with key business goals. 

As you can see, each goal correlates to current goals within the business and also relates to a specific time frame. While there is no hard and fast rule with regards to the timescale, especially the latter point about building a framework, performance goals are what an individual wants or needs to achieve. However, according to the Harvard Business Review, just 16 percent of front-line employees actually have a clear understanding of their connection with corporate priorities!

What are the benefits of performance goals?

Goals are vital for peak performance. Studies that show employees who are working towards their goals are more motivated and engaged. This will improve the business. The key benefits of setting performance goals include the following:

  • Measurability. Having tangible ways to measure progress doesn’t just improve motivation, but it also is a subtle reminder that employees are accountable for their actions. Additionally, it can help your business understand how an employee’s role individually impacts the organization. 
  • Employee well-being. Goal setting can reduce daily workplace stress. Employees are 43 percent less likely to experience burnout when they have a choice in what tasks to do, when they do them, and how much time to spend on each. When employees are bombarded with tasks, goals provide a framework so they can focus better. 
  • Improves decision-making. A clear sense of direction allows employees to feel more equipped to make snap decisions and can ask themselves if their decisions are going to help or hinder them from reaching their goals.

What are development goals?

Development goals are geared towards an employee improving their competencies or abilities through training or learning opportunities. A report from the London School of Economics suggests that firms are addressing skills shortages through the pandemic by recruitment rather than training their employees. 

Professional development and learning go hand in hand and can be achieved through a number of sources, including seminars, coaching, job sharing, and mentoring. The goal is for the employee to expand their skill set or knowledge. Some simple examples of development goals include: 

  • Completing e-learning on unconscious bias by the end of the next quarter. 
  • Take two courses in marketing by the end of the next fiscal year. 
  • Score passing marks on at least three online courses provided by HR.

In order for an employee to achieve their performance goals, they have to put performance development goals in place. An organization should focus on employee development, as it will increase their job satisfaction, build morale, and improve their motivation, which, in turn, will benefit the company.

What are the benefits of development goals?

Professional development goals are vital to the success and the engagement of the employee, and can yield some of the following benefits:

  • Providing a voice to the employee. It gives managers the opportunity to understand how an employee would like to grow. It opens the lines of communication and gives the employees a platform to voice their concerns and explain their vision, and how they can develop additional skills, therefore impacting the organization in a more positive manner. 
  • Provides insights into the employee. Employees need to be stretched, and this is what will help them to grow. When it comes to expanding an employee’s reach, development is never bettered. 
  • Increases employee engagement. An employee wants to feel valued, and wants to be recognized for their work. When an employee is given a tailored approach to development, whether personal or professional, this, by proxy, benefits the business.

The key differences

The difference between performance goals and development goals performance focuses on the end result, and development goals address the process of getting the knowledge to meet those performance goals. Developmental goals relate to learning, and performance goals are job-oriented. 

Common characteristics of performance goals

  • Job-oriented. 
  • Relate to job responsibilities. 
  • Geared towards results. 
  • Align with the corporate goals. 

Common features of development goals

  • Skills and/or knowledge-based. 
  • Focused on learning. 
  • Aligns with the performance goals of the individual. 
  • Provides opportunities for career advancement. 
  • Directly supports the current job functions and future needs within the organization.

How do you nurture both effectively?

Companies can either focus on performance goals, professional development goals or can fit both in tandem. There is a difference between the two, but both need to be successful and have to work hand in hand to guarantee employees have knowledge of what constitutes success, while also having the tools to get the results. 

Businesses can struggle to “see the wood for the trees,” and when it comes to performance goals and development goals, we have to recognize that they are two different things, however, they need to work equally to be effective. Coaching is a holistic approach to support employees to develop themselves appropriately so they can achieve the performance targets expected of them. 

Performance vs Development Goals

There is always a means to an end, and this is why performance is not just the key indicator of a business’s success. Rather, the focus of development doesn’t just mean that the employee is heading in the right direction, but they are able to have control over what it takes to achieve their goals.

Make understanding and setting your organizational goals simpler with Ezra. We’ve redesigned leadership coaching for the digital age to transform your company’s workforce through affordable, scalable and high-impact solutions that promote equitable access through our world-class coaching app. Find out today how everyone can be better with a coach.

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