General example of a smart objective



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The following guidance defines what SMART objectives are and how that would be implemented in practice for the following areas:



  1. Academic,

  2. Professional services, and

  3. Leadership.

General example of a SMART objective

Example:

To design and deliver a one-day ‘Research Excellence’ workshop to PhD students in the School of xxx by June 20, 201X which achieves an overall evaluation rating of 4.8 (out of 6) on the standard training evaluation form.
This is a SMART objective for the following reasons:

It is specific

It is clear exactly what the training will cover, who it will be delivered to and that it is yet to be developed (which provides parameters for workload involved)

It is measurable

This can be reviewed by assessing:

  • Has the objective been completed?

  • How does feedback compare to the agreed standard for acceptable feedback? (Providing a qualitative assessment).

It is aligned and achievable

As the objective is very precise there is little room for misunderstanding or ambiguity about what has been agreed.

It is aligned to the University strategy aimed at providing an excellent student experience and it is assumed that there is a requirement in the local plans that this fulfils.



It is relevant

It can be assumed that during the review conversation it has been established that the objective is appropriate to the reviewee’s role and grade.

It is straightforward to establish what workload it imposes and what would be required to achieve the objective.



It is time based

The date by which the objective is to be achieved is clear and unambiguous.





Academic examples


The bullet points below are indicative exemplars of the kinds of questions that reviewers might want to ask (and reviewees might want to reflect upon) when considering contributions to Research or Learning, Teaching & Assessment.

The phrasing of each question will depend on the role and level of the colleague involved; questions concerning leadership of cross-university projects, for example, might be less relevant to new members of staff.

Staff are encouraged to refer to the academic appointment criteria for the teaching and learning route. The PDR process provides an opportunity for staff to consider how their contributions can lead towards promotion and hence how objectives set during PDR can help evidence the achievements required for promotion. See:

http://staff.napier.ac.uk/services/hr/workingattheUniversity/career-development/Pages/Academic%20Career-development.aspx



Research

  • To develop, and design xx research proposals as a normal part of undertaking research, objectives and projects by dd/mm/yy which are successfully approved

  • To deliver xx presentations or exhibitions at national and international conferences and other similar events which receive x% of feedback from delegates which is rated good or very good.

  • To apply innovative teaching techniques including technology enhanced learning, which create interest, understanding and enthusiasm amongst students, as measured through improved NSS results of xx%.

  • To have led the publication of one paper of quality likely to be judged 3* or 4* in the REF in suitable / appropriate journals per annum

  • To have written as Principal Investigator (or key contributor) research grant applications of a value exceeding the median award value of your discipline/school and have submitted these by dd/mm/yy

  • To develop a new programme in XXX with activity built upon research and to deliver high quality teaching with the success of which is assessed by evaluation methods including student feedback and peer review by dd/mm/yy

  • To lead the development of a collaboration group to strengthen PGR links and deliver a workshop at on xxx theme by dd/mm/yy

  • Attain national recognition of leadership in the profession or discipline by publishing research outcomes and /or presenting a paper at a (named) national or international conference to be held on dd/mm/yy.

  • To be successful in obtaining x number of research grants/specific research grants by dd/mm/yy.

  • To increase percentage of successful research funding applications by x per cent by dd/mm/yy.

  • To generate research income to the value of approximately x between x and x

  • To increase research income by x amount/percentage by dd/mm/yy.

  • To develop a new line of research or approach that will have a broad impact on relevant field of publication/ positive impact for school/ university by dd/mm/yy.

  • To increase our Research income and our Commercial income by developing material for tutorial/CPD course on x by dd/mm/yy

  • To bring KTP project to successful completion by dd/mm/yy

  • To identify and set up X industrial collaborations as source of research income

  • To develop and promote CPD provision by determining X market opportunities and matching with required skill set and marketing by dd/mm/yy

  • To Improve External Presence by effectively engaging with social media

  • To improve our Research and Commercial Environment organise X events to raise the profile of School externally

  • To increase the number of Research students by investigating new PhD opportunities

  • To act as REF coordinator for the School

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA)

  • To identify an area for enhancement within my current learning, teaching and assessment (LTA) practice, reflecting on appropriate evaluation from students and other evidence, and develop a plan of action.

  • To work with relevant colleagues – who could be in other schools or located overseas – on the development of a case for new programme approval

  • To work with relevant colleagues on the development and approval of a new module.

  • To identify and take advantage of opportunities to communicate my work in the scholarship of learning, teaching and assessment, to internal audiences (through for example the LTA resource bank, the Teaching Fellows Journal and the Staff Conference) and to external ones (for example in pedagogical journals such as Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice).

  • To create and share LTA materials, such as Moodle platforms, textbooks and blogs.

  • Secure a grant from internal (e.g. Teaching Development Fund or QAA transitions fund) or external sources that will support LTA development

  • To gain professional recognition for achievements in teaching and supporting learning by gaining a Higher Education Academy fellowship in an appropriate category.

  • Lead the School through a successful accreditation exercise.

  • Help support LTA within the school through digital approaches mapped to the university benchmark for the use of technology in modules (the three E’s framework)

  • Help enhance and evidence student engagement in an element of academic provision.

  • To develop a substantial revision to the programme structure and content of an existing course.

  • Support the school in reaching student recruitment targets

  • To contribute to improvement in the School’s National Student Survey/Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey

  • To increase by x amount the number of incoming and outgoing exchange students by type of placement

  • To assist with achieving better coherence and balance within a programme through helping with or leading programme-focus activities such as TESTA.

  • To engage in continuing professional development in relation to teaching, learning, assessment, scholarship and, as appropriate, related academic or professional practices.

Academic Leadership in LTA

  • To take on the responsibilities of Module/Programme/ Subject Group Leader by dd/mm/yy.

  • To engage in LTA activity outside the university, such as external examining or membership of national or international bodies and editorial boards.

  • To take on a senior departmental/School leadership responsibilities by dd/mm/yy.

  • To take on membership of a School/University committee by dd/mm/yy.

  • Obtain a role as an external examiner by dd/mm/yy.

  • To lead in the management, support and development of xx research students by dd/mm/yy.

  • To support or mentor xx members of staff in research area, including Early Career Researchers, to build capacity and capability by dd/mm/yy.

  • To assume leadership of specific LTA initiatives within the school

  • To contribute to university-wide LTA initiatives, for example through active involvement with the Teaching Fellows Community.

  • To mentor and support colleagues in their academic roles and in making their claims for HEA Fellowship

  • To gain professional recognition for achievements in teaching and supporting learning by gaining Higher Education Academy Senior or Principal Fellowship

  • To mentor and support new academic colleagues as part of their extended induction

  • To supervise successfully xx postgraduate research students in learning and teaching by dd/mm/yy.

  • To undertake, complete and record in HR Connect, all PDR’s with immediate reportees within timescales set out by the university.

  • To review a cross section of the schools PDR’s within 2 weeks of PDR completion date to ensure x % are consistent in SMART objective setting and learning and development planning.

  • To create a school learning and development plan for management team and whole school that captures, costs, resources, development method and connections to the university strategy.

  • To ensure that 100% of information and records processed (received, created, used, destroyed) on behalf of the University are managed in compliance with the applicable legislation/regulations and internal policies e.g. Data Protection Policy and Code of Practice, Information Security Policy, Records Management Policy and procedures

  • To lead in the management, support and development of xx research students by dd/mm/yy.

  • To support or mentor xx members of staff in research area, including Early Career Researchers, to build capacity and capability by dd/mm/yy.

  • To supervise successfully xx postgraduate research students in learning and teaching by dd/mm/yy.

  • To encourage non-research active staff to participate in CPD and consultancy; benefits include financial and other rewards; and direct inputs into teaching







Example:

Attain national recognition of leadership in the profession or discipline by publishing research outcomes and /or presenting a paper at a (named) national or international conference to be held on dd/mm/yy.



Specific

What will reviewee do?



Measurable

How will reviewee / reviewer know?



Aligned/Achievable

Is this a priority and does it fit with the strategy?


Can it be achieved?

Relevant

How does it fit with the reviewee’s role and grade?



Time-bound

What are the target dates?



Submit research outcomes to a recognised journal and /or present at a conference

Papers will be published and / or accepted as speaker at conference.
Invited to speak at further events

Quality research meets funding priorities. It is aligned with Glasgow 2020 vision to undertake world leading research

This is appropriate for the role of the reviewee and is relevant as they aim to raise their professional profile.

Publication dates for the journals and /or submission dates for abstracts for conference papers


Professional Services


  • To review the school’s filing systems and make recommendations for improvements to Line Manager by mm/yy with agreed implementation of recommendations by dd/mm/yy.

  • Develop and implement an action plan to reduce error costs in accounting for colleges by dd/mm/yy resulting in accurate accounting report standards within two weeks of the monthly close.

  • To effectively and efficiently take the lead on organising the logistics for the annual Staff Development Conference scheduled for dd/mm/yy by achieving a score of 4 out of 5 on average from customers on the feedback form under ‘effective organisation of the event’.

  • To achieve 80% satisfaction score on Programme Management in the Student Satisfaction Questionnaire completed on dd/mm/yy.

  • Implement the xyz business process improvement project as agreed with Director of Service by dd/mm/yy designed to improve the results of the Customer Service Questionnaire (xyz section) to be completed on dd/mm/yy.

  • To achieve attendance of at least 150 guests at the national conference on dd/mm/yy by undertaking effective marketing activities with all relevant xxx professionals within the UK by dd/mm/yy.

  • To review the XYZ programme and design and implement process changes resulting in a more efficient system which streamlines applications cutting processing times from X to Y by dd/mm/yy.

  • To lead on the implementation of the Enable development programme and ensure the project is completed within agreed budget (£x) by dd/mm/yy and meet the qualitative criteria as outlined in the project plan section 2.0.

  • Ensure all laboratory equipment in building X passes equipment maintenance testing and produce an up-to-date inventory by dd/mm/yy.

  • To set up a process to inform and update a data base recording the service’s use of substances hazardous to health under the COSHH regulations by dd/mm/yy.

  • To increase the accuracy of instrumentation data by x% by dd/mm/yy

  • To up-date the Health & Safety policy document for X campus and ensure all staff are advised of changes by dd/mm/yy

  • To produce written guidance on the use of XYZ equipment by dd/mm/yy.

  • To improve customer satisfaction ratings regarding response times for processing permits from x% to Y% by dd/mm/yy

  • To review stock monitoring procedures, suggest improvements and implement agreed changes by dd/mm/yy.

  • Create a comprehensive information pack for all Residencies students as to the services / facilities / clubs available in the SRS as part of their accommodation package by dd/mm/yy.

  • Provide a catering food offer that delivers “healthy choices” throughout all catering outlets to work towards all areas retaining Gold “Healthy Working Lives Award” by the end of mm/yy.

  • To ensure each room is cleaned as required by Health and Safety standards and University requirements so that the University facilities enhance our Academic Reputation.

  • To ensure that 100% of information and records processed (received, created, used, destroyed) on behalf of the University are managed in compliance with the applicable legislation/regulations and internal policies e.g. Data Protection Policy and Code of Practice, Information Security Policy, Records Management Policy and procedures




Example:

To effectively and efficiently take the lead on organising the logistics for the annual Staff Development Conference scheduled for dd/mm/yy by achieving a score of 4 out of 5 on average from customers on the feedback form under ‘effective organisation of the event’.



Specific

What will reviewee do?



Measurable

How will reviewee / reviewer know?



Aligned/Achievable

Is this a priority and does it fit with the strategy?


Can it be achieved?

Relevant

How does it fit with the reviewee’s role and grade?



Time-bound

What are the target dates?



Organise the logistics for the Staff Administrators conference

Achieving scores of 4/5 on effective organisation of the event on feedback form

Identified in Service strategy for the year and resources are in place to ensure this takes place

This is appropriate to the role and grade of the individual.
Although stretching they have the capabilities to meet the objective.

Conference event date

Technical



Example:

  • Ensure all laboratory equipment in building X passes equipment maintenance testing and produce an up-to-date inventory by dd/mm/yy.

  • Produce high quality and flexible practical solutions for student project requirements

  • Develop systems to manage deadline based completion of the practical elements of multiple student projects

  • Install and commission new equipment, processes or delivery methods

  • Evaluate and manage the practical usage of new equipment and systems installed without the level of initial involvement noted in those above

  • Estimate materials requirements and instigate orders for project completion –at both macro and micro level

  • Investigate ramifications of new developments and potential new developments in terms of safety in use, practicality and applicability to the project base

  • Research developing technology and materials in order to seek improvements in practical capability for project processes

  • Investigate and assess changing student requirements in relation to individual and group involvement in project activity

  • Investigate opportunities for cross-school or cross- University collaboration in order to provide greater flexibility in service provision

  • Seek relevant practice-appropriate development activity in terms of seminars, trade shows or structured education

  • Liaise with external contractors and bodies on statutory test, maintenance and health and safety issues

  • Liaise with academic colleagues on major developments involving space changes, refurbishments and new systems purchase

Specific

What will reviewee do?



Measurable

How will reviewee / reviewer know?



Aligned/Achievable

Is this a priority and does it fit with the strategy?


Can it be achieved?

Relevant

How does it fit with the reviewee’s role and grade?



Time-bound

What are the target dates?



Collate an inventory of lab equipment in X building

All equipment will be in working order as per equipment maintenance standards.

Inferred agreement with reviewer that there will be funding available to repair any faulty equipment.
It is within remit of reviewee role.

This is appropriate to the individual’s role and grade, they have the capabilities and resources available to achieve the objective

dd/mm/yy

Operational



Example:

Create a comprehensive information pack for all Residencies students as to the services / facilities / clubs available in the SRS as part of their accommodation package by dd/mm/yy.



Specific

What will reviewee do?



Measurable

How will reviewee / reviewer know?



Aligned/Achievable

Is this a priority and does it fit with the strategy?


Can it be achieved?

Relevant

How does it fit with the reviewee’s role and grade?



Time-bound

What are the target dates?



Create information packs for all residencies students

A copy of the information pack will be available for all students

Fulfilling Partner Needs in the University Strategy by providing excellent service and support to students

This objective is within the remit of the reviewee and they have the necessary skills and resources available to achievable this within the timeframe.

End of mm/yy









Leadership


  • To improve employee engagement by x% as measured through the bi-annual engagement survey by implementing the department commitments and actions agreed with staff so that Edinburgh Napier University continues to be a great place to work.

  • To internationalise our work by identifying xx new opportunities for student international learning experiences by dd/mm/yy.

  • To deliver an efficiency target of £xx in 20xx/xx+1

  • Revise the University’s xx policies in accordance with the requirements of external bodies, national policy developments, regulatory and legislative changes by dd/mm/yy.

  • To align and operationalise priorities emerging from the University’s new Strategy 2020 and 20xx/xx=1 Corporate Plan

  • To undertake, complete and record in HR Connect, all PDR’s with immediate reportees within timescales set out by the university.

  • To review a cross section of the school/ service PDR’s within 2 weeks of PDR completion date to ensure x % are consistent in SMART objective setting and learning and development planning.

  • To create a school/ service learning and development plan for management team and whole school that captures, costs, resources, development method and connections to the university strategy.

  • To ensure recruitment and induction process across the school/ service meets University processes and procedures so that x% of staff stay in post for at least 2 years after starting.




Leadership

To complete 100% of staff PDRs within the university recognised periods (April – June) and Interims (October – December), ensuring all staff have a Personal Action Plan, with objectives linked to plans or any development requirements and the meeting is recorded on HR Connect by dd/mm/yy

Specific

What will reviewee do?



Measurable

How will reviewee / reviewer know?



Aligned/Achievable

Is this a priority and does it fit with the strategy?


Can it be achieved?

Relevant

How does it fit with the reviewee’s role and grade?



Time-bound

What are the target dates?



Hold a PDR with all their direct reports

A completed PDR action plan form is on file. HR connect has been updated

Yes, the PDR process is used to ensure that all staff are aware of their objectives for the coming year and have an opportunity to discuss their future career, development opportunities and receive constructive feedback/ coaching on their performance.

This objective is within the remit of the reviewee and they have the necessary skills and resources available to achievable this within the timeframe.

Any manager with line management responsibility is responsible and accountable for ensuring their staff have had a PDR discussion



Two set periods per year. End of mm/yy







Ensuring clarity when phrasing objectives


Objectives should be worded using clear unambiguous language. Both the reviewer and the reviewee should not only understand the objective but they should also both have the same understanding of what is to be achieved. Objectives should be concerned with results and achievements rather than with undertaking a series of actions or tasks. When writing objectives some of the words used can lead to confusion and may imply activities rather than the result to be achieved. Some examples are detailed below with potential substitutes which are probably better, but may not always be appropriate.

Instead of this

Try this

Instead of this

Try this

administer

complete

expenditure

cost

analyse

determine

facilitate

supply

arrange

organise

investigate

conclude

assure

confirm

manage

achieve

consult

ask

observe

evaluate

examine

resolve








Performance Standards


Performance standards can exist in any job however they are directly linked to completing job-tasks and tend to define the quality of performance each time a particular task is completed. Performance standards or service levels describe the conditions that must exist before the performance can be rated satisfactory. Standards may be defined for repetitive and routine tasks as a qualitative and/or quantitative measurement and may be embedded in policies, local procedures or legislation (e.g. health, safety, legal, trades and/or operational reasons).

For example:

  • To provide cleaning services to achieve 85% standard in visual quality monitoring during 20xx – 20yy.

  • To ensure incident reports are submitted by x time after the event

  • To ensure mail is delivered to schools by x time each day

  • To ensure all student enquiries are dealt with within x days

  • Maintain the AAA database by ensuring new data is added within 2 days.

  • Student enquiries through the help e-desk are responded to within 24 hours of receipt.

Performance Standards differ from tasks which tend to be more generic and indicative of the nature of the activity. Tasks tend to be described in job descriptions and represent work activities in the job role profiles.
Learning and development objectives

Learning & Development Action Plan

(linked to Strategic Objectives, Department objectives, Academic Criteria and/or values & behaviours)



Resources/ support required (time/ cost commitment)

Target date (if applicable)

L&D Objective rating: Key *

University Value linked to: Professional

University objective linked to: enhance academic reputation
To update professional skills and knowledge so that I am able to be up to date with best practice and legislative requirements and can impart this knowledge to my customers in my daily work.

To attend xx conference

Dates

Cost


Booking via web link (credit card can be used)

Agree objectives with line manager for conference xx date

Apply to attend conference xx date

Attend conference xx date

Reflect and share knowledge of conference with team

Xx date





Outcome/ Measure(s)

to be up to date with best practice and legislative requirements for year xxx

answer xxx queries from customers in my daily work



in consultancy meetings, be able to offer advice in relation to my professional knowledge and expertise




March 2015



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