Standard D9 Explained

Why is it important for organizations to have a work plan or performance objectives? Work plans and/or performance objectives are a key ingredient of any performance management process and can help employees to be more effective in their roles.1 Individual work plans and performance objectives should align with your organization’s strategic plans and annual work plans.2 This will ensure that your organization is engaging all staff to work toward accomplishing its mission.

The HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector suggests that performance objectives should be SMART:1

  • Specific – clearly articulate what, who, and when
  • Measurable – determine how you will know that the goal has been accomplished, using multiple measures if possible and addressing both qualitative and quantitative factors
  • Attainable – develop goals that can reasonably be accomplished
  • Realistic – goals should align with an employee’s experience and abilities as well as recognize complexity, including factors outside the employee’s control
  • Time-bound – set clear expectations for the time by which the goal should be accomplished


From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

  1. Performance Management,” in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
  2. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.


Standards Reference Guide



Share this resource