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Goal-Setting: How HR Can Help

Virtually no organization can survive – let alone thrive – without actionable, measurable objectives. While managers carry much of the goal-setting responsibility, there are ways HR can help, too.

As with so many organizational priorities, setting goals begins with proper communication. In this case, HR plays a role in ensuring managers understand the importance of goal-setting within their teams. But it doesn’t end there.

Aligning company and team goals

HR has a unique opportunity to help ensure companywide and team-specific goals are in alignment. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to tell or remind managers and other organizational leaders of the overarching goals your company has planned for the new year.

Building goals together

As their teams and employees develop strategic goals, you can help managers understand how their individual team goals align with objectives set for the company as a whole. For example, a companywide initiative to cut everyday administrative costs could dovetail with a team-specific goal of achieving proficiency in a new electronic project-management system, thus reducing the amount of paper needed for printing.

In addition to communication, this initiative may also require a proven goal-setting system that has worked in the corporate world for decades.


Staying SMART

Perhaps the best example of such a system can be found in the acronym SMART, which stands for:Team members aligned on goals

  • specific
  • measurable
  • achievable
  • realistic
  • time-based

Interestingly, the acronym is flexible enough to accommodate alternate word choices (for example, the “A” is sometimes used to mean “assignable”), but the basic sentiment remains the same.

Goals should be set with as much specificity as possible, and in such a way that it’s completely clear when they’ve been met. Avoid vague, pie-in-the-sky objectives. No recruiter is going to onboard 100% of candidates, for example. For a goal to be meaningful, it must also be attainable.

Other options may be more effective with your workforce, so substitute other tactics and resources as you see fit.

Alignment on the way your organization sets goals can help you ensure consistency in measuring them as well.

Using the right software

Speaking of measuring goals, consistency in goal-setting and tracking is instrumental to fair, scalable performance management.

If your performance management software empowers employees and supervisors to communicate about goals, you’re able to provide greater clarity on what’s expected of employees across the organization.

When employees know what’s expected of them, they’re more able to meet departmental and even organizational goals. And your managers have objective measures they can refer to during performance reviews. That helps your entire organization move forward in the strategic direction your leadership has set.