Setting Employee Goals the SMARTER Way

Setting Employee Goals the SMARTER Way

Setting goals with employees is an important part of further developing their skills for a competitive edge and a sustainable business. For long-term success, a considerable amount of thought should be put into the goal setting process. You can do this by following the SMARTER model outlined below.

S – Specific: When setting goals, it’s important to have the end in sight, defining the desired outcome upon completion of the goal. A specific goal with a clear outline of milestones to be reached along the way will help the employee to meet the set expectations.

M – Measurable:  Goals should include numbers so that progress can be tracked along the way and success can be measured in the end.

A – Attainable: Research shows that challenging goals often lead to better task performance than easy goals, but it’s also important that the goals are achievable.  Managers can encourage success by making sure that the necessary time and resources are available for the employee to complete the goals, and by offering to provide guidance if needed.

R – Relevant: The goals set should align with the company’s overall business objectives as well as the interests of the employee. Aligning the personal and professional interests of the employee allows them to be more engaged, which contributes to the overall success of the business.

T – Timely: Each goal should have a set deadline for completion. In some cases it may be helpful to have deadlines along the way to help the employee stay on track. It is also helpful to have scheduled meetings where managers and their employees can revisit set goals and adjust them if necessary.

E – Engaging: It’s important that the goals set engage the employee so that they feel encouraged to do well. Research indicates a direct linkage between engagement, productivity and the overall financial success of the organization.

R – Rewarding: Once an employee completes their goal, they should feel a sense of pride for their accomplishment. This is most likely to happen when the goal was initially set to align with their interests and the company’s business objective. Managers should properly recognize the success of their employees to keep them engaged and motivated to achieve future goals.



Amy Van Ditti