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Justifying Performance Targets

How to set performance targets that deliver business success
Justifying Performance Targets

It is not outrageous for an Employer to set high standards for their employees. However, a recent case decision has demonstrated that an Employer must be able to justify these standards when determining if a dismissal was unfair, unjust or unreasonable.


At Humanistic HR we recommend the following key considerations when setting performance targets:

  • Can you justify the need for the target?

  • Is the team member capable and do they have the right supports in place to achieve their targets?

  • Did you seek any input from your team member before or whilst setting the target?

  • Are you imposing the same standards on part and full-time team members?

  • Has the target ever been achieved by another team member?

  • Is this target going to engage ad retain the team member as well as helping achieve your strategic objectives?

  • Are additional factors (such as flexible working arrangements or additional leave) being taken into consideration?

  • Does the target take into consideration the employee’s skill level, experience and available support?

  • How do one team members targets overlap or meet other team members targets?

  • Is it clear how team members targets feed up to the strategic plan?


It is also critical when managing an underperformance of a target that procedural fairness underpins the process. Having a valid reason for a dismissal (such as a performance target not being met) is not enough if the employee has not been provided procedural fairness throughout the process.


Setting Performance Targets at the end of the day is also about balance. Balancing what’s reasonable for the Employer’s business as well as the team members and resources available. Setting a target is at the discretion of the Employer, but it also needs to be weighed against the ability to attract and retain the best talent. So, when creating your cocktail that is a set of performance targets we recommend you consider what is reasonable, what creates engagement and what can be justified.


For additional advice on what a reasonable target is or how to apply procedural fairness when a target is not being met, please reach out to Humanistic HR.

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