HRs Complete Guide to Goal Setting

Published on 19 Dec 2022

HRs, Complete, Guide, Goal, Setting

Companies that concentrate on their objectives earn greater success. Employees are more aligned and productive, feel more connected and engaged, and have a strong sense of purpose. It takes effort to get to that position.

While we intuitively understand this, there is a demonstrated correlation between goal setting and improved results. For example, one university research discovered that merely writing down a goal — whether a New Year's resolution or a business target — increases your chances of success by 42%. Others have investigated the benefits of objectives in various professions, from sports to businesspeople. They are used by the world's most active firms, from Google to Slack.

When departments and people have clear, measurable objectives to strive toward, they feel invested in the company. Specific and quantifiable goals help define success, allowing for better (and less biased) feedback and performance evaluations. When your organization connects merit and remuneration, promotions and increases become more egalitarian. According to studies, businesses that lack explicit objectives and performance management systems are more likely to be biased against women and persons of color.

Finally, teams who take goal planning seriously are not only more successful but also more engaged. Having clear and attainable goals corresponds with better satisfaction and engagement levels, particularly when workers believe they have a role in their objectives.

According to a Gallup survey, employees who were part of the goal-setting process were roughly four times more likely to be engaged. Goal setting is one of the most powerful activities a People team can adopt since engaged teams provide better business results, higher retention, and even higher customer happiness.

Considering Models and Approaches

Identifying Your Requirements

There are other approaches to goal setting, as you will discover. For decades, corporate executives have experimented with numerous models (and catchy acronyms) in search of the ideal blend of practicability, motivating effect, and demonstrable outcomes.

First and foremost, there is no one-size-fits-all method for goal planning. Before implementing any of the models, we'll go through, and consider what your company needs from a goal-setting framework. This entails asking questions such as:

  • What is the current size of your company?
  • Is your company expanding? How quickly?
  • Are staff dispersed or concentrated in a single location?
  • How predictable is your company or industry?
  • Is your company flat or hierarchical?
  • Have you previously adopted goals? What went well, and what went wrong?

The answers to these questions will not only tell you which models to buy but will also enlighten you on logistics. Cascading objectives, for example, are inappropriate for non-hierarchical organizations. Forecasting business objectives for the next year, much alone the next six months, maybe impossible in fast-growing firms, requiring a quarterly goal cycle.

Don't only think about whether each goal-setting methodology is appropriate for your business today as we go through them. Any performance management process takes time to implement, and you'll want to choose a model that you will stay within a year.


Goals boost your chances of success on your own. However, if they give context or details, workers can comprehend what has to be done or what success looks like. This is where "SMART" objectives come into play.

SMART goals, which are associated with Peter Drucker's management by objectives approach, motivate staff to practice articulating how their goals will be achieved. Setting SMART objectives entails formulating them in a manner that clearly outlines all of the following criteria:

  • Specific - Does the aim have clear methods and outcomes in mind?
  • Measurable - Is the aim measurable? How?
  • Actionable/Achievable - What steps will be taken to achieve this goal? What steps do you need to take to get there?
  • Relevant/Realist - Is this aim relevant to your work responsibilities, team, and company? Is it based on variables that you can influence?
  • Time-bound - When is the deadline? Is it based on a deadline or goal date, or a set schedule?

SMART goals address an immediate need since almost half of the workers say that their company's goals must be clarified. Uncertain objectives might result in exhaustion, a lack of concentration, and even undesired turnover.

On the other hand, SMART objectives assist everyone, from managers to individual contributors, in understanding what they need to accomplish to meet their aims. Individuals may apply the same principle to smaller initiatives or personal objectives since the advantages are ubiquitous. In fact, the SMART method is often promoted as a useful tool for people seeking to learn a new language or improve their overall health.

What are SMART goals?

Everyone, from managers to individual contributors, may benefit from the SMART goal method. We've presented an example of how SMART goals may offer direction to otherwise ambiguous aims for additional context.


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