Few business related topics can split a room as much as targets do: some people love them, others loathe them. Why is it that one person enjoys the challenge of targets while the next one feels they’re a misguided tool to squeeze the last drop of productivity from an already over-exhausted workforce?
Some of us have had the experience of working in organizations that give pay rises or awards bonuses depending on the extent of targets met. Awarding bonuses for exceptional achievements might seem a reasonable enough practice, but the moment the commitment to a job that one’s hired to do becomes second to meeting the criteria for acquiring a bonus, the bonus has become a corrupt incentive. The possible risk of giving pay rises based on target effectiveness is that it could obscure and disturb synergetic forces within teams; awarding the ambitious individuals and penalizing the supportive team members. This might lead to a highly competitive atmosphere within teams with increased performance of some of its members but affecting the team’s overall efficiency, especially if target performance within teams are normalized to moderate salaries.
If we’re taking the remuneration package implications of target success out of the equation, there might be more consensus on the need to having targets. Most people would agree that businesses have to set targets to give direction to development and setting a bar for performance levels. How else could business account for their success or failure? Let’s not forget, “targets” is nothing more than management-speak for aims, ambitions or goals.
At Prove Engineering we don’t hand out bonusses or pay rises based on force-fed targets. We would expect our employees to develop themselves professionally and personally. Independently of that, we’re reviewing our salaries every year to stay competitive and if we’ve had a really good year, we’re sharing the spoils with our colleagues. When it comes to setting targets, we’ve set some ourselves as well. One of these targets is to outline our ambitions for 2024 to our website-audience through monthly posts. More than communicating that writing these posts are a target, we are committing to writing them by stating that we will.