Developing SMART Goals

Managers & Supervisors

Performance planning begins by developing goals for employees. Writing performance goals allows a department to establish expectations that will move the organization forward in both the short and long term. 

Duties are a statement of an employee’s normal work output whereas a goal is specific work-related achievement to be accomplished within a specified timeframe.  For example, a duty could be to sell magazine subscriptions to clients whereas a goal would be to increase new client sales 3% by the end of the calendar year. 

Focusing on duties maintains an employee’s knowledge and abilities. However, when the focus is placed on goals, employees are encouraged to further develop their skills.  While duties are necessary and important, the growth of the organization will occur more rapidly when you focus on setting goals.

Stronger goals can be developed when you make them SMART:

  • Specific: understandable and unambiguous
  • Measurable: quantity, quality, money, time, etc.
  • Achievable: a stretch yet possible
  • Results-Oriented and Relevant: focus on outcomes, not activities, and align them with organization’s needs
  • Timely: identify completion date

Using this guide and answering the following questions may help you identify the achievement to be accomplished within the SMART goal:

  • What? – Describe the desired result or outcome
  • How? – Describe the process to achieve it
  • Why? – Describe why it is important or relevant
  • When? – Determine completion date

Writing a SMART goal is only the first step in encouraging the success of employees.  Coaching is the ongoing process which keeps your organization moving forward.