Setting goals is an integral part of an organization. It helps the organization determine where it wants to reach and how does it plan to get there. One of the most common goal setting techniques is SMART goals.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound. This technique is intended to simplify the overwhelming exercise of setting goals into multiple small steps. Idea is to reduce the ambiguity that creeps in the goal statements & help organisations, teams as well as individuals craft effective targets. You can read more about SMART goals technique here.
How do SMART goals benefit your organization
Simplify Goal Creation Process:
Almost every for profit business on this planet is going to have one eternal goal, which is to ‘Increase profits for shareholders‘. Similarly, every HR department is going to have a universal goal of ‘Increase employee engagement‘ in one form or the other. Whereas individuals will have a few common goals such as ‘Become more efficient‘, ‘Learn new skills‘ etc. Aren’t these goals sufficient, you may ask. No, they are not. These are just guiding lights, they do not offer any concrete help on how the end goals can be achieved.
That is where SMART come in. By asking various questions within the context of larger goal, one is supposed to arrive at a more Specific, Measurable, Relevant, Actionable & Time bound target. That, in essence, is the power of the framework. It helps you extract & articulate more effective goals.
Higher Employee Engagement:
The clarity that SMART goals bring is of paramount importance for individuals. It lets them vividly imaging what a success or failure would look like. Given that these goals are also time bound, it results in everyone remaining ‘on their toes’ for achievement of the stated goals.
‘Relevant’ is also an equally important part of how SMART goals are crafted. This aspect helps employees understand the bigger picture. They would know how their routine tasks are helping their teams & subsequently the company achieve its goals.
And the specificity of the goals can motivate them to put in discretionary efforts to up-skill themselves.
Objective Performance Assessment:
Performance reviews are dreaded by employees everywhere. By providing them with measurable goals, the uncertainty around definition of success & failure is taken away. This provides a clear scope for informing periodic performance assessments.
In fact, some organisations also couple monetary incentives to SMART goals. While there are always two sides of the coin, it just goes on to show the certainty SMART goals introduce. This is contrary to the usual corporate environment where employees are left to figure out success or failure on their own.
Biggest advantage surfaced due to SMART goals (in our opinion) is the structured & streamlined thinking. Right from the top management to the front line individuals, everyone is going to look at their goals from the same lens. There is less scope for differing interpretations & a better thought process emerges.
This structured thinking is more helpful when you are working in an organisational space, where each has its own individuality.
One common question we hear is, how SMART goals are different from OKRs. A brief answer to that would be – the underlying philosophy of speedy & ambitious execution of OKRs. While OKRs do have almost all the elements of SMART goals, additionally they are supposed to be challenging & more aligned with the business landscape.