Goal Setting/Development Planning

Performance Goals

  • Are short-term objectives set for specific work in the employee's current position
  • Relate to the department's overall goals
  • Include clearly defined expectations for success

Performance goals answer the question "What is expected of the employee in his/her position?"

Why Set Goals?

  • To set specific expectations of what work should be done
  • To create clear, measurable performance standards
  • To make the connection between an individual employee's work and department and Institute goals

Development Plans

  • Tie to anticipated needs in the employee's current position and/or
  • Focus on opportunities outside the current role and/or
  • Look at the organization's anticipated needs and/or
  • Focus on the employee's strengths, talents, and interests separately from the current position

Development plans answer the question "In what areas and ways should the employee develop for the future?"

Development Planning

Development planning is a rich opportunity for employees and managers to plan for an individual's development with an eye toward the department's future needs. In addition to reviewing current goals and accomplishments, performance management discussions can also focus on the future.

The development planning aspect of the conversation typically includes three categories:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Personal attributes

Sometimes managers are hesitant to talk about developmental goals because they don't want to lose a valued employee. In fact, a 2002 study by Towers and Perrin showed that career advancement opportunities and professional development opportunities are among the top five factors for retaining employees. (Career advancement is Number 1.) 

Types of Development Activities

Professional development activities for an employee to consider in addition to training courses:

  • Work on department or Institute teams or projects
  • Contact people who are in jobs, career fields, and/or organizations of interest to gather career information
  • Connect with groups around MIT that focus on skill development—for example, MIT's Toastmasters Clubs provide mutually supportive and positive learning environments for developing communication and leadership skills
  • Increase your knowledge about communicating with others, handling meetings, and other topics by exploring Organization and Employee Development (OED) Learning Topics
  • Create an "affinity group" by bringing together a group of MIT colleagues with similar interests to share stories and strategies
  • Create a book group by inviting colleagues to read and come together to discuss a relevant book or article
  • Lead team/department discussions about current work projects
  • Give presentations about work projects to colleagues and/or at conferences
  • Provide training to colleagues on a topic or skill that you have just learned or have mastered

Focused career planning discussions between you and your manager can help you define career options and encourage appropriate learning and development opportunities that will support next steps.