Have you ever heard the adage, “you can’t hit a target you can’t see?” When you think about employee goals, keep that adage in mind because employees cannot hit their targets without clearly defined goals. Measurable, attainable goals ensure that employees know where to focus their energy and virtually guarantees a boost in performance and engagement. If you want to help your employees achieve their goals this year, help them create SMART goals.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound objectives. Diving deeper, SMART goals are:
- Specific: Clearly defined, unambiguous goals.
- Measurable: Goals should be defined in numerical terms. They may be further broken down into steps which should also be measurable.
- Achievable: The goal should be able to be accomplished within the existing time, budget, environment, skills and tools available. However, it should also stretch the employee.
- Relevant: Goals should focus on things that are important to the employee and relevant to their specific role.
- Time-bound: Setting deadlines creates a sense of urgency and motivates employees to keep focused so they hit their target.
Tips For Setting SMART Goals
Goals should never be created just for the sake of having them. SMART goals should always be designed in a way that enhances performance and pushes the company towards its overarching organizational goals. Remember these tips when setting SMART goals:
- Goals should always align with company objectives: Individual SMART goals should be tied to the organizational strategy. When employees know how their responsibilities contribute to broader success, they will feel more engaged.
- Ask for employee input: Don’t impose goals on employees. Instead, let them be a part of the process. This will help gain buy-in from employees and provides them with a sense of ownership over the goals.
- Recognize those who achieve their goals: The satisfaction of achieving a goal is a reward, but it is important to recognize employees who achieve their goals. Not only does public recognition reinforce positive behavior for that employee, but it also sends a message that the company values goal achievement, incentivizing others to push harder to achieve their goals.
- Coach employees who struggle: Check in to track progress. When you find someone who is off-target, work closely with them to help them get back on track.