Setting objectives

Setting objectives is a process of discussion and mutual agreement between the employer and the employee. Choose a time to sit down and agree on some together.

Back to: Managing people

Outlining objectives

Share your vision for the farm and discuss it with the employee. Demonstrate how their contribution feeds into your vision and the bigger picture. Include any personal objectives the employee may have, e.g. around career development. Also consider objectives that will challenge your employee and provide opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge.

Try asking your employee:

  • What do you want and need out of this job in the next few months, and the next year? 
  • What can we do to help you achieve your objectives?

How often and how many? 

Objectives are usually set on an annual basis, but you might want to break them down into quarterly ones too. Twelve months is a long time to be 100% focused, and having regular catch-up meetings (performance reviews) will help keep everyone on track.

Aim to set between three to six, well-constructed objectives.


When creating objectives, consider using the SMART method: 

Specific. Does the employee clearly know what is expected? New and inexperienced employees will probably require a much higher level of detail. 

Measurable. Are there measures in place? Does the employee understand how their work will be monitored and assessed? 

Achievable. Can the objective be achieved within the timeframe? 

Realistic. Is the objective realistic alongside other pressures? Is the employee able to influence the results? 

Timely. Is the employee clear about timeframes? When work should be completed by, how frequently etc.