www.downloadslide.com Chapter Five Foundations of Employee Motivation 137 outcomes from that performance (P-to-O expectancies). As such, these theories explain motivation through their relationship with expectancy theory of motivation, described earlier. Elements of these theories also help us understand other motivation processes. For instance, self-regulation is the cornerstone of motivation through goal setting and feedback, which we discuss next. Goal Setting and Feedback 5-6 goal setting the process of motivating employees and clarifying their role perceptions by establishing performance objectives CalPERS—the California Public Employees’ Retirement System—has challenging goals for staff at its customer contact center in Sacramento. 64 The organization aims to have 95 percent of client calls answered within 2.5 minutes. It also wants customers put on hold for less than 2.5 minutes. Another goal is that less than 5 percent of CalPERS clients hang up before the call is handled by someone at the contact center (called the abandonment rate). Along with these specific goals, the organization keeps track of how many calls are received (about 650,000 per year), how many callers are waiting, and how long each call takes (between 6 and 7 minutes, on average). CalPERS employees not only know these goals, they probably have some form of visual feedback. Many contact centers in other organizations have large electronic screens showing statistics for these key performance indicators. Customer contact centers partly motivate employees through goal setting, which is the process of motivating employees and clarifying their role perceptions by establishing performance objectives. Goal setting potentially improves employee performance in two ways: (1) by amplifying the intensity and persistence of effort and (2) by giving employees clearer role perceptions so their effort is channeled toward behaviors that will improve work performance. Goal setting is more complex than simply telling someone to “do your best.” Effective goals have several specific characteristics. 65 One popular acronym—SMARTER—captures these characteristics fairly well: 66 • Specific. Goals lead to better performance when they are specific. Specific goals state what needs to be accomplished, how it should be accomplished, and where, when, and with whom it should be accomplished. Specific goals clarify performance expectations, so employees can direct their effort more efficiently and reliably. • Measurable. Goals need to be measurable because motivation occurs when people have some indication of their progress and achievement of those goals. This measurement ideally includes how much (quantity), how well (quality), and at what cost the goal was achieved. Be aware, however, that some types of employee performance are difficult to measure, and they risk being neglected in companies preoccupied with quantifiable outcomes. 67 • Achievable. One of the trickiest aspects of goal setting is developing goals that are sufficiently but not overly challenging. 68 Easy goals result in performance that is well below the employee’s potential. Yet, goals that are too challenging may also lead to reduced effort if employees believe there is a low probability of accomplishing them (i.e., low E-to-P expectancy). Recent studies have also found that very difficult goals increase the probability that employees will engage in unethical behavior to achieve them. 69 • Relevant. Goals need to be relevant to the individual’s job and within his or her control. For example, a goal to reduce waste materials would have little value if employees don’t have much control over waste in the production process. • Time-framed. Goals need a due date. They should specify when the objective should be completed or when it will be assessed for comparison against a standard.