WORKPLACE / JUL. 11, 2016
version 13, draft 13

What SMART Goals Can Do for Your Organization

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Everyone knows that engaged employees are more productive! Using SMART Goals is one of best ways to achieve that ! Do you think they could help you !

Ever since George T. Doran coined the term “Smart Goals” in the November 1981 issue of Management Review, they have revolutionised performance management and have helped organizations the world over in a number of notable ways. The true extent of the benefits that can be derived from introducing SMART goals will soon be discussed, but in essence, the acronym aims to help companies and employees construct and adhere to organizational aims and objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Though it is true that the concept of SMART goals has certainly had its critics over the years, it is still fairly universally agreed that a solid set of objectives for an employee, and the company as a whole, provides clarity, motivational energy, and focus. SMART goals can greatly facilitate forward momentum and encourage staff and management to work together to boost productivity and increase collaboration.

Listed below are just a few of the major advantages that your organization, workforce and reputation will enjoy when you decide to introduce and construct SMART goals.

1. Your Company Will Have Increased Direction and Focus

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Communicating and collaborating with employees to create achievable goals is critical. It makes your workforce feel involved and critical to the overall success and workings of your company. But, before you can begin the process of individual goal construction, it is first necessary to address the wider concerns of organizational objectives.

Important decisions need to be made with regards to the overall direction, aims, and ethos of the company. This forces management to seriously consider important issues and to make pivotal decisions about the future of the organization. After all, if your company as a whole has no clear vision of where it wants to end up in the future, it is impossible to make decisions regarding actions today.

Once these decisions have been made, and a plan is laid out detailing the company’s desired milestones, only then can employee goals be considered. A workforce can’t be expected to be truly engaged with an organization that has no aspirations or ambition. Organizational focus gives employees and management something to work toward and keeps everyone on the same page. Put simply; an unambiguous, overarching goal helps companies make important decisions regarding who to hire and what skill sets they need to achieve their ends.

2. You Will Encourage an Engaged, Motivated and Confident Workforce

Employees are more engaged when they know exactly what is expected of them, and how to achieve these expectations. Engaged employees are, as all HR executives know, critical to the success of a company. It has been shown that highly engaged employees perform on average 20% better than disengaged employees, and organizations with more actively engaged employees are 23% more profitable. With this in mind, making employee engagement a priority is an investment in your company’s future.

To encourage employee engagement, goal setting needs to be at the forefront of every HR executive’s mind. Employees can’t be engaged if they are unaware or confused as to their current role or the targets they are meant to achieve. The use of SMART goals ensures that employees are both informed and conscious of their specific goals, both short-term and long-term. SMART goals will also detail precisely how these individual objectives will be measured.

Employee input is critical when it comes to constructing goals and objectives. This will help management get to grips with the capabilities and confidence of the employee in question. It is senseless to hand out goals that are overwhelming or frustrating for staff; if this is the case, managers will almost always be disappointed by the lack of progress.

Encourage a collaborative atmosphere – this will ensure that these goals are realistic and can be achieved within a given time-frame. Doing so will also promote clarity, which will increase the likelihood of your employees hitting, or even exceeding, their expected targets. This, in turn, leads to increased confidence in their own abilities and motivation to accomplish future goals.

3. Employee Objectives Are Aligned with Organizational Goals

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Aligning employee goals and objectives to those of the company is essential to the success of any performance management system and has a positive effect on engagement. Transparency is required at all times; employees need to know how what they are doing is helping to move the company forward and how they fit into the ‘big picture’. It is critical that they are aware of how their roles feed into overall corporate objectives. This helps employees to see that they are relevant, integral and needed.

The process of aligning employee goals with strategic company objectives is facilitated with the use of performance management software. With it, managers can work with employees to create and track goals and employees can add progress updates to their objectives so that everyone involved can keep track of their progress and achievements, ensuring an effective and smooth process.

4. You Save Valuable Time

Research has shown that SMART goals save companies significant time. This is ultimately due to the clarity the goals provide. Employees that are uncertain as to what direction they are meant to take or what to do on a given day are far less likely to be an asset to a company. They will spend time on tasks that simply don’t need to be done and will more than likely fail to achieve targets if they don’t really understand them.

Once managers and employees have set SMART goals, they should consider introducing continuous performance management to save even more time. This modern performance management trend rejects the idea of yearly performance reviews and instead encourages regular, informative check-ins between employees and their supervisors. This way, vital information can be exchanged regarding current progress and pitfalls. Frequent and open communication also allows managers and employees regular opportunities to re-evaluate and readjust goals, which is often necessary and helpful in a dynamic, thriving organization.

5. You Promote Healthy, Productive Communication

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Forbes has cited communication as today’s most important skill, and it is critical to the success of any company. It helps to promote collaborative teamwork and engagement. By introducing SMART goals and ensuring that they are dynamic, flexible and constantly revisited, HR executives are doing a lot to promote healthy communication within an organization.

SMART goals are most effective when they are supported by regular check-ins between the employee and their manager where the employee has the opportunity to discuss what they are currently doing, what they are planning to do and any obstacles they are encountering with their goals. Managers, in turn, can recognize and reward employees for a job well done or assist employees should they need help. This demonstrates to employees that management is actively involved and supportive, which makes them far more approachable.

There are many more advantages to SMART goals, but their overall effectiveness is governed by the organizations and employees themselves. It isn’t enough to simply introduce goals; it is equally important to track them over time and to promote an atmosphere of teamwork. Perhaps the biggest advantage of all to introducing a set of clear and precise goals is that of employee engagement. Employees that are happy with their role in the company are an incredible asset not to be underestimated.

Do you use SMART goals? Do you find them useful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

See Also: 5 Reasons Why Writing Down Goals Increases the Odds of Achieving Them

 

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