Kick start the year with SMART Goals

The start of a new year is always a good time to focus on the year ahead and set out a few challenging goals that will motivate and engage you, your managers and your staff for the year ahead.

For businesses, it’s a chance to check in to make sure employee’s objectives are aligned with the business strategy, and everyone is focused on the same goals.

Here is a 6 STEP PLAN to kick start you:

  1. Know the company mission, vision and values – what we are here to do and how we want to do it. When employees feel disconnected to the company vision they can experience a lack of direction. Its important to be aware of how their work fits into the overall organisational framework and how their specific contribution impacts the company achieving its strategy.
  2. Set departmental goals – meet your team, share with them or reaffirm your departmental goals for the year ahead. Ensure they can relate to the challenges and opportunities these goals present for them as a team and what success will look like. Creates shared accountability between employees by “cascading” goals from one employee to another when relevant.
  3. Document individual goals – meet each person on your team individually. Schedule enough time to listen to their input, and hear their concerns and ambitions. Together identify a set of “SMART” goals and objectives that will challenge and motive them to reach beyond their achievements to date and to understand that their contribution will directly impact the achievement of the company goals.
  4. Communicate – keep connected to your team all the way through. Share relevant information with them about developments in the business, opportunities you are exploring, new clients you are working with etc. This will help them understand what is happening in the business, show them they are trusted and valued. In return you will receive commitment and belief from an engaged team. Provides visibility up, down and across reporting levels.
  5. Give feedback – everyone needs feedback on what they are doing and how they are getting on. Focus on their strengths and how they can further build their capability. But it’s also important to give feedback on areas they need to develop and improve. Feedback about performance typically looks at how someone’s work affects other people in that employee’s job area. An effective discussion will include and address the company’s overall strategy. Communicates expectations clearly during every phase of goal completion. Job feedback should focus on growth and forward thinking by and how employees can learn from their mistakes.
  6. Engage and motivate your team – managers who consistently provide feedback and communicate regularly with the teams, build stronger and more engaged relationships. Studies have proven that engaged employees perform at a higher level and achieve a more meaningful contribution to the organisation. This in turn increases retention and helps you build succession plans in each department.

And to refresh you on how to make your goals SMART:

SPECIFIC. Specific goals let people know exactly what’s expected of them with no room for misinterpretation. Specific goals should be able to answer the following:

  • Who is responsible?
  • When must this be done?
  • What is to be accomplished?
  • Which requirements/constraints are involved?
  • Where is this to be completed?
  • Why is this important or beneficial?

MEASURABLE. When setting goals, you must also set specific criteria for measuring progress against those goals. This gives your employees a way to stay on track, aim for target dates, and reach milestones that will serve as ongoing motivation.

ATTAINABLE. Setting overly lofty goals that are truly unattainable serve to demotivate-rather than motivate-your employees. By setting ambitious, yet realistic, goals, you will inspire your employees to fully leverage their talents and all available opportunities in order to achieve them.

RELEVANT. Employees must be able to see how a specific goal is relevant to them and the work they perform every day. Plus by keeping goals relevant, you will help employees better understand their connection to your company’s objectives and the strategic importance of their individual goals.

TIMELY. To be most effective, goals must be structured around a specific timeframe to provide a sense of urgency. This serves to motivate individuals to begin working on their goals as soon as possible.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is a great way to motivate your employees to perform at peak levels, we include this in our Goal Setting Strategies and Performance Management Programmes. Take a look at some of our Training programmes that might help you put this in place in 2017 for your team. Contact us now at or ring the office 01-5252914.