You can find several useful goal frameworks, and eventually, you will choose the one that best fits your company’s culture and values. Let’s start by understanding one goal framework – SMART goals.
SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based goals. They are commonly used for employee performance management and provide a step-by-step process to effectively define and achieve goals.
Each element of the SMART goal framework helps create effective goals for employees and the company. Learn to understand each component so you can be successful in creating your goals.
Specific: Clear, well defined, and significant
There’s no point setting vague goals that don’t achieve anything specific. Research by the creators of goal setting theory, Locke & Latham, found that in 90% of studies conducted, specific and challenging goals lead to higher performance than when people were set either easy goals, “do your best” goals or no goals at all.
Measurable: Quantified and meaningful - results show progress and completion
Once you have a specific goal pinned down, it’s important to be able to measure the success or completion of the goal. This doesn’t have to be in the traditional sense, like on a numeric scale or a statistic, it just has to be measurable in some sense, so that it is clear when you have reached or are close to reaching your goal. This is a great way to keep track of progress in the workplace.
Achievable: Realistic and attainable
Objectives should all be realistically achievable but should require effort and innovation. Unrealistic and seemingly impossible goals only serve to create a culture of failure in your company — this is far from the motivational environment you’re looking to cultivate.
Objectives should also be agreed between the employee and their manager. This autonomy will help employees to take real ownership over their roles. The employee needs to know they have had a say in their objectives and the manager needs to know that the objectives are suitable and in line with company goals. Performance management software can be used with great effect to ensure both parties are happy and agree to the objectives. This same software can also be used to set and track objectives.
Relevant: Aligned with your responsibilities, company goals, or mission
It is essential that any goals set for teams or individuals are relevant to company-wide aims. Of course, goal-completion is important and having goals met or worked towards is the overall idea when setting them, but this is only really beneficial when the goals are productive in the workplace environment and will contribute to company success in some way. As a manager, it is particularly important that you help your employees link their goals back to the wider team and company-wide goals.
Time-Bound: Has a target date of completion
Goals must be time-related. It’s not productive to set a deadline too far in the future for a simple task, or an unrealistically short deadline for something complex and time-consuming. This common pitfall can be incredibly demotivating for staff. They’re either left with an abundance of time in which they are not pushing themselves, or left feeling stressed and demotivated when they fail to complete goals in the time-frame provided.
Why use SMART Goals
What is the benefit of using the SMART goals at work?
The SMART framework allows you to focus your efforts on something that you can achieve and know when you have achieved it (“a successful result”). It also acts a simple but clear guide for goal setting that most if not all people can follow – enabling adoption and ensuring sustainability.
With a clear understanding of SMART goals, now you are ready to use them in your company.
The key questions you may want to answer in setting SMART goals are:
- What do I want to achieve and when?
- What metrics will I use to track this goal and its completion?
- Is this goal possible, and if so, how do I achieve it?
- Does the goal align with my team and company objectives?
Examples of SMART Goals:
The following are a few examples of some SMART goals you can set in the workplace, outlining how they meet the above criteria:
S. Provide more growth and learning opportunities to each member of my team
M. Give feedback to each member at least 2 times per month
A. Feedback should come from manager
R. Improves team communication and feedback culture
T. Provided before the end of the next quarter
S. Have customers complete satisfaction rating surveys at the beginning of their contract and again after two quarters
M. Increase customer satisfaction by 15% over the next two quarters
A. Customer success team to analyze and report improvements every two weeks
R. Become well-known as a company for our focus on customer satisfaction
T. The following 2 quarters
S. Begin new social media campaign
M. Generate 75 new content downloads
A. Marketing team responsible for running campaign and measuring performance
R. Promote our new feature
T. In the next two months
S. Add a new feature to the app
M. Have it ready to deploy to the app store
A. Development team assigned responsibilities
R. Improves current product and makes things more accessible for users
T. Two months
The five SMART goal criteria discussed above are however a great basis and will change the way you and your team create and assign goals and milestones: having clear, concise and relevant goals makes any work environment more communicative, motivating and effective.