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How Often Should Objectives be Reviewed?

In this video series, Peter Rogers from Mango Global discusses the purpose of objectives. We have gathered compliance consultants from around the world to give some helpful advice to ensure that the objectives you set are effective.

This is the third of a four video series of compliance conversations around objectives The question we answer in this conversation is "How often should you review your objectives?"

Check out the video here:

Michael, Momentum Safety and Ergonomics, Australia

Typically, I'll do it as part of the management review cycle, that's where we will do our management reviews of our objective. Depending on how often you do that, monthly or quarterly, would be typical.

If your workers have been more intimately involved, you could do it at a larger group meeting i.e. toolbox talks, not every time, certainly not weekly or anything like that.

I think minimum monthly so that you can actually see some change. If you look at them too often, it looks like we're doing the same thing all the time, we're not seeing a movement towards those objectives.

But on the flip side, if you leave it a little bit too long, things can drift, and if you do nothing for six months, then all of a sudden, oh, yeah, we had that objective, but we forgot all about it.

I think somewhere between a month to quarterly is probably a fair time for something to happen, but not to get too out of control.

Chris, FQM Ltd, United Kingdom

I don't think there's any set target, it comes down to what level you are reviewing them, whether it's at the strategic high level, or whether it's at the more operational board level.

The important thing is, that the organisation must identify what target they set themselves for reviewing these and align to that.

One of the things I don't think organisations should do is simply set objectives, because an ISO auditor says that they have to set objectives, and then a couple of weeks before the ISO auditor comes in, they review what objectives they set last year, and set new objectives. I think that's completely wrong; it has no purpose whatsoever for the organisation.

I would say a monthly review would give a good indication of where an organisation is on that journey aligned to the objectives.

Nicholas, SRM, South Africa

I think it depends on the timeframe of the objective.

Hypothetically, if we've got annual objectives in our organisation, we would obviously carry out performance monitoring, measurement and analysis on a monthly basis, and then report, at our monthly feedback meeting. Remember, when you set objectives, you have to monitor, measure and you have to be able to report on the status of objectives.

So, the answer to the question is, it depends on the timeframe. Our annual objectives we review and report on once a month.

But let's say you had a short-term objective that was a month or a week, we might shorten that review period to either daily feedback or weekly feedback.

The key driver for us is, what is the lifespan of the objective, and then the review frequency would be driven around that lifespan.

Peter, Mango, New Zealand

Of course, the most important thing, if you are reviewing, is that you communicate your findings to the people that have been involved in it. So often, companies will review objectives, but never report the findings out to the people who were part of that process.

Andrew, IRM Systems, Australia

We recommend regular review of your objectives and the supporting actions at least four times per year.

It is an opportunity to reflect on progress, or any barriers and challenges in achieving those objectives. Review allows you to look at the progress and give some feedback to the teams involved, which can be quite important.

Gary, QSM Group, Australia

That depends on the nature of the objective itself.

Some objectives and the plans to achieve those objectives need to be reviewed each month, for example, and others only annually. It all depends on the level of risk and the importance of an individual objective.

This is where sometimes, it goes wrong, because you see quite often, that the objectives are reviewed on an annual basis, and really, that's not an effective way of reviewing them. Because if you began having a look at once a year, they're not living and breathing and providing value to the business.

My advice is an organisation should schedule the review requirements that are appropriate to each individual objective. An approach of just reviewing objectives and plans once a year is very rarely effective.

Ben, Total Management and Training, Australia

To me this question is a little bit like how long is a piece of string?

It very much depends on the objective that we're looking at. If the objective includes daily or weekly targets, then obviously we should be looking at it daily and weekly to ensure that we're meeting those particular objectives, and at least monitoring in those timeframes.

If it is a more general objective, for example, reducing the number of defects or something along those lines, where we don't actually have a specific timeframe set, we could create ourselves an ongoing metric, and that metric could then be checked at particular time, it might be a daily team meeting, could be a weekly team meeting, something like that.

One thing I will say though, is that your objective should be reviewed at your management level meetings, so however you particularly run those, and however often you run those, the objectives should be checked to ensure that they are being measured and they're being successfully measured. Then also, at the same time, checking what their current status is, seeing if those objectives are on track, and seeing if there's anything you might need to do to bring them back on track if they're not.

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