Compensation, Most Read

SMART Goal-Setting—Key to Pay for Performance

Making Sense of Goals and Objectives

Neelman offers the following suggestions for making goals and objectives truly helpful:

  • Make performance management an important aspect of a manager’s evaluation.
  • Limit evaluations to critical goals that employees can impact. Three to five goals is usually most appropriate. No more.
  • Goals should enhance the employee’s performance in his or her current position.
  • Goals must not be outside the realm of what the employee can impact.

Neelman is a principal and senior consultant with Compensation Resources, Inc., in Upper Saddle River, NJ. She offered her suggestions at a recent webinar sponsored by BLR and HR Hero.


You need to think "SMART" to set good goals, says Neelman.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Results-oriented
  • Timely

Make sure that goals are well-documented and communicated, says Neelman. That facilitates evaluation of achievement at year-end.

Goal-Setting Worksheet

Here is Neelman’s worksheet for goal setting:

  • Performance Goal: Provide a written statement summarizing the goal, including the expected end result(s).
  • Accountability: Indicate the individual(s) responsible to lead the accomplishment of this goal.
  • Performance Measures: Identify the key quantitative and qualitative performance measures that should be used to determine if, and to what extent, the goal has been achieved.
  • Timetable: Indicate the target date for completion of the goal.
  • Resources Needed: Identify the expected budget and staff requirements necessary to achieve the performance goal.
  • Influences/Constraints: Identify potential obstacles, prerequisites, and intradepartmental activities that could impact the ability to accomplish the performance goal.
  • Milestones: Identify the major milestones and corresponding dates that indicate the extent to which the goal has been achieved.
  • Documentation: Identify documentation needed to support the achievement of each milestone, as well as goal completion.

What are your competitors offering workers these days?  Check your state’s edition of BLR’s exclusive Employee Compensation in [Your State] program to find out. Try it at no cost or risk.

Avoid Changing Objectives

Objectives should not normally be changed, says Neelman. If you have been careful about setting goals, you shouldn’t have to change them. However, sometimes you have to. For example:

  • Events that materially affect the ability to accomplish the goal
  • Elimination or postponement of goal by top management/board
  • Elimination of funding or diversion of key resources
  • Material change in the company’s business direction
  • Significant change in participants’ duties and responsibilities

If you do have to eliminate a goal, try to substitute with an alternate goal, if possible, Neelman says. Be sure that there is sufficient time to work on achievement of the new goal and that it meshes with the existing goals.

Setting meaningful, measurable goals—just one of the many daily challenges for comp and benefits managers. From audits to commissions to market pricing to executive perks, compensation and benefits hits you with something new every day. You need a trusted, go-to resource. For more than 20 years, experienced comp and benefits pros have relied on an extraordinary program from BLR.

In fact, thousands of managers have put their faith in Employee Compensation in [Your State]. The [Your State] refers to the fact that a separate edition is published for each of 43 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia. So if you live in Illinois, Employee Compensation in Illinois is the reference you receive.

Don’t just look at national data when you can have data specifically for your state. It’s all in BLR’s famed Employee Compensation in [Your State] program. Try it on us! Here’s how.

Each edition of the Employee Compensation in [Your State] service contains these key elements:

  • Recommended Rate Ranges localized for your state and region for hundreds of jobs, based on surveys and official data. You shouldn’t pay the same in Manhattan, Kansas, as you do on Manhattan Island in New York. This program makes sure you don’t.
  • A to Z State and Federal Law Comparisons. Comp and benefits are regulated by a tangle of laws.Employee Compensation offers an alphabetically arranged set of practical analyses on how to comply. Look up "ERISA" or "Overtime" or "Workers’ Compensation" and you instantly have a plain-English explanation of how the controlling laws—state and federal—apply to you.
  • A Full Job Descriptions Program. Employee Compensation offers a complete tutorial for setting up a job descriptions program. Many ADA-compliant sample job descriptions are provided, ready to copy and use.
  • Free newsletter and updates. The Employee Compensation newsletter helps keep you on top of new state and federal compensation and benefits laws. Six updates throughout the year keep your book current with all new compensation laws.
  • Complete wage and salary administration guidance. Walks you through the entire compensation process with step-by-step instructions for analyzing and pricing jobs, writing job descriptions, employee compensation policies, and more.

Use the links below to see samples of the program and newsletter, as well as a full table of contents of what’s included.

The program is priced affordably for small companies as well as large, at only a few dollars a day. That’s coffee money for just about every form of information most managers need to run a competitive and efficient comp/benefits program.

You can check out the entire program in your own office for up to 30 days, with no need to buy. (We even pay return postage.) Just click the link below, and we’ll be happy to set things up.

Start a no-obligation free trial

Download product sample
Download sample newsletter
Download Table of Contents