At my company, we have annual performance reviews and also a process where we set goals for the year. When it comes time to set goals, we are expected to create them on our own. I'd like to use them when the performance review comes around as something to point to and say "see, I did important and valuable things, give me a raise/promotion". However, I don't see how I can do this if I'm just making my own goals and I can't get any input on what management thinks is important to focus on. I've tried expressing this multiple times to multiple managers, but they always say they'll get back to me and then seem to forget the conversation ever happened, even when I bring it up multiple times.
I guess what I'm struggling with is my goal is "become a more valuable employee so my salary goes up", but the "more valuable" part is up to them to decide, and I cannot get any guidance on what I should be doing to achieve that. Last year I was told to create three goals:
- One that was not work related just to improve myself as a person (example was to take up painting if you're a technical person),
- One to make myself more valuable to the team (I think the example was to learn a new skill)
- One to make the team more valuable to the company (such as improving a process)
Even if I do the first one perfectly, obviously I'm not going to get a raise or promotion if I stuck to my new painting hobby or whatever. Maybe it will improve my performance indirectly by making me more well-rounded, but it's worth nothing on its own. The last "goal" is really just fishing for ideas, because I have no control over what the group does. My "goal" for that this year was for our group to spend more time getting feedback from our users on applications we develop, which everyone agreed was a good idea, but I doubt anybody did it and it's not like I can force them to.
The middle goal is the only one possibly relevant to judging my performance and value, but even then, if my manager doesn't think what I picked is worth a raise then I'm still stuck. If I were in a position like sales, then it'd be easy to come up with goals we both value, but as a software developer, it's less clear. Even when I suggest specific goals, I can't get feedback on them, and they get ignored at review time.
So how do I use this process to help me get promotions and raises? Am I being unreasonable in expecting guidance from management in creating my goals? Am I completely missing the purpose of setting annual goals and I need to think about this whole thing differently?