Employee ExperienceLearning and Development

SMART Goal Setting Method: The Ultimate Guide

4 Mins read

SMART goal setting is a method that allows you to set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Setting goals for your employees or ensuring that they have their own goals is essential as a manager. This is to ensure that your employees are not just working for the company’s success but are also inspired and devoted to their tasks. 

SMART Goals are a proven and effective strategy for achieving success. You can use them to improve employee experience and engagement. With SMART goals, you can design the perfect company culture.

This guide will show you how to set SMART goals using a few simple steps.

What is the Smart Goal Method?

smart goal setting method

SMART goals have been used for many years and have proven to be an effective way to achieve success. SMART stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.”

For SMART goals to be effective, they must be specific. If you set a goal to increase sales by 100% this year, you should know how to measure the increase to know when you have reached your goal.

Additionally, SMART goals should be attainable so that they are realistic. If your goal is to increase sales by 100% this year, but your company only has a budget for a 10% increase in sales, then your goal is unattainable and unrealistic.

The last two qualities in the acronym are also important to consider. Your goals should have a time frame in which they can be completed, and they should have a due date when you intend to meet your goal.

For instance, are some examples of SMART objectives you may set in the workplace, along with explanations of how they meet the criteria mentioned above.

Example 1

S. Have consumers fill out satisfaction surveys at the start of their contract and again after two quarters.
M. Over the next two quarters, increase customer satisfaction by 15%.
A. Every two weeks, the customer success team will assess and report on improvements.
R. Establish a reputation as a company that places a high value on customer satisfaction.
T. The next two quarters

Example 2

S. Give each member of my company more opportunities for growth and learning.
M. Give each member feedback at least twice a month.
A. Managers should provide feedback.
R. Improves the culture of team feedback and communication
T. Provided by the end of the next quarter

Example 3

Not all goals have to be (and shouldn’t be) related to productivity KPIs. For instance, this SMART goal example is related to employee’s training and development.

S. Obtain HR certification
M. Pass the SHRM exam with over 70%
A. Take a preparation course to help you get ready
R. Perform relevant HR activities in a better and more efficient way
T. By the end of 2022

If the last example got your interested, read on to find out how to get HR certificate.

Tips to Creating an Effective Smart Goal Setting Process to Improve Employee Performance

smart goal setting process

Employ­ees should be Mindful of their Limitations

Stretching and chal­leng­ing goals are important, but you should warn employees about the dangers of setting unrealistic goals, given the available resources. This is cer­tain­ly something to be wary of if you have employ­ees that suffer from per­fec­tion­ism. 

Over time, your employees will develop a sense of their own limits and development, but till then, managers must intervene to ensure that the employees are not over­taxed. This will only result in the failure to meet objectives and disappointment and frustration for everyone involved.

Track SMART Objectives with Performance Management Software

Everyone involved in the process of setting, agree­ing, and track­ing SMART objec­tives can benefit from a performance management software. 

After the employee creates SMART objectives, the manager can determine whether or not the objectives are reasonable and discuss relevant adjustments. This makes goal-setting a true col­lab­o­ra­tive effort and ensures that all parties have a common understanding of what has been agreed upon. 

Once the objectives have been formalised, everyone involved can follow their progress and provide feedback using the performance management software. This way, everyone is updated about successes and challenges, and managers can intervene if employees need further assistance.

Allow For Some Leeway and Flexibility

Organisational demands and requirements, like those of any agile organisation, can change regularly. What was urgent three months ago may suddenly seem insignificant or unsupportive of your organisation’s goals. If this is the case, employees should be able to make changes to their already established goals. 

On the other hand, these changes should be helpful and effective, and you can discuss them during your regular one-on-ones. This is an excellent opportunity for the manager and employee to discuss goals and provide feedback.

Explain to Your Employees the Importance of SMART Objectives

Whether you’re creating SMART objec­tives for the whole company or SMART objec­tives for individual devel­op­ment, your employees ought to know that your company takes goal-setting seriously — and why goals matter.

Explain to your employees how effective goal setting can improve their performance, directly affecting their career advancement and opportunities for promotion within your company. 

When explaining the SMART goal setting method, mention how experts in the industry have often highlighted them as the most effec­tive approach of setting goals.

You could also use this as an opportunity to show your employees how important they and their position are to your company. You wouldn’t be able to achieve your company goals without them. Show your employees that they are important and are part of a team by being more open and honest.

Be Trans­par­ent  and Encour­age Employ­ees

In the business world, organ­i­sa­tion­al trans­paren­cy is becoming more critical. Employees are demanding ever-increasing levels of openness, which forward-thinking businesses are providing. After all, trust, employee engagement, and organisational success are all positively associated with transparency.

Context is vital throughout the goal-setting process. Discuss your company’s long-term objectives with your employees. Explain any pressing matters or roadblocks that are impeding development to them. 

Employees will remember organisational goals if you are open and forthright about them. They will also be able to align their objectives upwardly to help the company achieve long-term objectives.


In short, goals are an effective tool for guiding strategy implementation. To harness their full potential, leaders must go beyond the traditional goal-setting methods. In conclusion, setting SMART goals as a best practice in any company is paving the road for the organisation’s success.

The SMART goal setting method and associated tips mentioned above are a great starting point for setting realistic goals for your team members, and they will change how you and your team design and assign goals and milestones: Any work environment that has clear, precise, and relevant objectives is more transparent, motivating, and successful.

Further Reading

Leadership Credo
Law of Attrition
Incident Management KPIs
Constructive Criticism vs Destructive Criticism

Related posts
Employee Experience

Employee Commitment Strategy | UPDATED 2022 | A Complete Guide

4 Mins read
Employee commitment strategy is a critical component of talent management, something that continues to grow in complexity each passing year.
Employee Experience

Organizational Anthropology – UPDATED 2022 – A Complete Guide

4 Mins read
Let us try to learn more about organizational anthropology and understand how to get started with this approach.
Employee Experience

Pride: The Unheralded Driver of Engagement

5 Mins read
An article by Rick Garlick about work pride and employee engagement. Find out why are employees motivated to work for an organization.
Get a selection of newest articles every other Thursday morning

Subscribing to Employee Experience Magazine provides you with exclusive insights and updates from the world of EX. Be the first to get the updates and exclusive stories and offers.

Subscribe with your work email address and receive new insights, ideas and updates every other Tuesday morning, just before you clock in.