Creating an Effective Framework for Employee Performance Goals

Discover ways to create an effective framework for employee performance goals to take your business to the next level

June 23, 2022
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Setting performance goals for employees allows company management to collect and evaluate employee job performance and overall business key performance metrics. Mindfully-set performance goals have the potential to uplift your company while benefitting your employees. Creating an effective framework for employee performance goals is crucial for developing a fair performance review process and retaining your top workers. 

A practical, understandable framework for employee performance management can help employees understand their job expectations and meet performance review goals while assisting managers in evaluating employee job performance

Discover ways to create an effective framework for employee performance goals to take your business to the next level. 

What is a Framework for Creating Effective Goals?

A framework for creating effective goals is a structured approach to simplifying, understanding and accomplishing business goals. A study published in the Harvard Business Review revealed that goal setting is vital to success and that those who specified their goals were ten times as likely to succeed. 

A goal framework simplifies the process of goal setting by taking larger ideas and distilling them down into actionable parts. The most effective goal frameworks have timelines, usually 1-3 months, milestones, and exact definitions of success and failure. There are several effective goal-setting frameworks that work toward understanding and accomplishing goals. 

To learn more about how Assembly can help you build effective goals, schedule a quick demo.

What are the Five Performance Objectives?

The Five Performance Objectives, known by the acronym SMART, are the five most important criteria to consider when setting a goal. The SMART framework is a widely-used and highly-effective way to set and achieve reachable goals within a given time. 

SMART is broken down into five equally-important requirements for precise and attainable goals.  

  • Specific

Articulate your goal as specifically and clearly as possible. Vague goals are not actionable, and the more specific, the better. Instead of saying “Increase sales,” say “Increase sales in the 18-35 market by 1.3% over the next three months.”

  • Measurable

Measurable metrics are useful for both measuring your success and understanding milestones along the way. Determine which metric is the most important to your overall success, such as time, units shipped, sales increase, or market share, and use that as the benchmark for progress towards your goal. 

  • Actionable

Every goal needs a plan of action. Write out a detailed, step-by-step plan that includes a timeline of what actions need to take place and when. Allow for some variation, but try to be specific with time-sensitive activities. The more detailed the plan, the easier it will be to track progress, hit milestones, and accomplish your goal. 

  • Relevant

Connect your specific goal with your long-term company goals. Consider how reaching your specific goal will lead to accomplishing larger goals. The more you can connect the small activities to the bigger picture, the more your employees will see the benefit of the work. Staying in touch with your company’s broader visions and values may, in turn, increase employee motivation and enthusiasm.

  • Time-bound

Every actionable goal needs a specific timeline. Without a timeline, projects drift and fall victim to procrastination. Each goal should have a final deadline, as well as milestones and revaluations at the third, half, and two-thirds mark to reevaluate and reemphasize any parts of the plan that are flagging. 

To learn more about how Assembly can help your team stay motivated and organized, schedule a quick demo.

How Do You Write a SMART Performance Objective?

The best way to write a SMART performance objective is to critically examine your job and responsibilities and understand what you need to do to succeed in your role. To do this effectively before your performance review, follow these steps:

  • Examine your workplace responsibilities and understand your exact job role and specific expectations. You may want to ask your manager for a sample performance improvement plan.
  • Create a general goal statement for each of your responsibilities. It should be broad enough to encompass the general goal of your role but specific enough that it can be measured.
  • Only create one goal for each responsibility or sub-responsibility. Having too many goals can lead to frustration and burnout. If you find you have too many goals, you may be overly focused on the details. Try to take a step back and prioritize. 
  • Understand the who, what, when, where, why, and how of each of your goals. Who do you need to work with? What specific work do you need to complete? What is the timeline? Knowing your parameters can help you set effective SMART goals.
  • Decide on what specific information to measure, and create a metric of how you will measure it. For example, if your job requires you to consistently meet short deadlines, you may want to measure the percentage of tasks completed on time. Efficiency platforms such as Assembly can help you keep track of your measurements. 
  • Find out if there are any tools or new skills you need to achieve your goal. Keep track of new skills you have learned and include them as examples of progress towards your goal. 
  • Articulate the relevance of your goal to the broader goals of your company or organization. If your goals align with your company’s mission, you may find increased support and motivation. 
  • Create your timeline, remembering to set progress milestones at the third, half, and two-thirds mark to keep track of your progress. 

These steps, along with the 5 tips for maximizing performance reviews, can help you make the most of your time as either an employee or manager.  

Examples of SMART Employee Performance Goals

SMART Employee Performance Goals will be unique for each worker, but there are some work goals examples for evaluation that will come up across almost all professions and companies. 

  • Getting to Work on Time

First, set a specific time you would like to arrive at work, such as 8 a.m. This goal is measurable by its nature, you’re either on time, or you’re not. The goal is attainable with perhaps a few tweaks to your morning routine. Since the goal is directly related to your work performance, it is relevant. Make it time-bound by committing to arriving on time every day for one week or month. 

SMART goal: I will arrive at work by 8 a.m. every day this month. 

  • Work-Life Balance

If overtime hours impede your family time, set a more specific goal to address the problem. If your specific goal is to reduce your overtime hours, you can easily measure this goal by calculating how many overtime hours you typically work each week. 

This goal can be achieved as long as your finances don’t suffer. Since this goal relates to work habits and increased productivity during work hours, it is relevant. Try to goal for a time-bound period with the option of prolonging it if desired. 

SMART goal: I will reduce my overtime hours to four hours weekly or one day per week for one month to spend more time with my family. 

  • Improve Finances with Freelance Work

If you’re looking to take on freelance work for some extra cash, keep your goals within the SMART framework, particularly if you are juggling a variety of responsibilities. If your specific goal is to improve your finances through freelance work, you can measure it by keeping track of each completed project and how much money you made. Make it achievable by completing your freelance projects in your spare time or on the weekends. 

Freelance work can be relevant if it helps you develop skills or strengthen your portfolio. Make sure to keep a time-bound tally of projects completed along with weekly or monthly income. 

SMART goal: To improve my finances, I will finish a weekly freelance project to enhance my monthly income by $200 and grow my portfolio. 

  • Improve Communication

Communication is king whether you work for a big company or a small-knit remote community. With a specific goal to improve communication there are a few ways to format a SMART goal. 

If your job consists of regular meetings with colleagues, you may want to measure how many meetings are organized or how long they last. Make an achievable goal, such as setting up two half-hour meetings per week. Since your goal aims to improve team-wide communication, enhancing productivity and morale, your goal is already relevant. Try it for a month to make it time-bound. 

SMART goal: I will organize two half-hour meetings with my colleagues every week this month to promote better workplace communication. 

  • Reduce Clutter

To make this general goal specific, aim to reduce clutter around your workspace to improve personal productivity. Take a measurable ten-minute break each day to tidy up. Since this goal doesn’t require much time or exertion, it should be achievable. 

Decluttering can lead to better work habits that are relevant to both you and your employers. Make it time-bound by committing to reduce clutter daily for two weeks. 

SMART goal: I will spend ten minutes every day for the next two weeks decluttering my work environment to improve my productivity at the office. 

Meet Your Workplace Goals with Assembly

At Assembly, we bring together teams, tasks, and conversations to help you achieve your workplace goals. Whether you’re a large established business or a dispersed virtual network, our collaboration and organization platforms will help you unlock your team’s potential. 

Assembly helps you Work Smarter, Not Harder. 

Start Assembly for FREE today. Schedule a walkthrough.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered