You are here: News >

Tips for SMART Goal Setting to Kick Off the New Year

This is an ideal time to get your team onboard and focused on what’s important for the year ahead. Setting SMART goals will help align employees with the company objectives and targets.

January is a great time to start talking to employees about the ambitions and priorities for the year ahead. It’s also a powerful way to energise and empower your team to understand fully the opportunity, the trust and control you are giving them to deliver and why they are important to organisation.

Giving employees sight of the company/department/team goals and creating opportunities to come together to map out opportunities for collaboration with others, define individual responsibilities, as well as explore areas for development and support so people can achieve success and perform to their potential.

Why set goals:

  • To deliver business performance
  • To stretch and challenge individuals
  • To link an individual’s performance to the achievements of higher business goals
  • To provide a means for measuring progress
  • To focus behaviours
  • To motivate and develop the individual

Clearly scripted and defined SMART goals agreed between an employee and their manager, will give a greater sense of clarity and ownership as to the performance standard needed to be successful. Making the goals SMART means the feedback conversations will be more meaningful and honest for both the employee and the manager.


Specific in language

Measurable in quantifiable terms

Achievable with a reasonable effort

Results oriented, not activity oriented

Time bound

Remember, if a goal cannot be measured, attainment can never be known. What gets measured gets done!

Measurement checklist

  • Are the goals realistic?
  • Can each goal be assessed individually?
  • Has personal bias been avoided?
  • Have circumstances beyond anyone’s control been considered?
  • Can evidence be provided to support performance rating for each goal?
  • Has objectivity been maximised?

Providing ongoing and regular feedback through coaching conversations is very important and can be the difference between effective performance achievement and mis-communication between the employee and manager.

Objectives of giving feedback

  • Positive feedback
  • Reinforces achievements
  • Motivates the individual
  • Acknowledges effort
  • Development feedback
  • Gives the individual an opportunity to change their behaviour
  • Helps resolve issues before they escalate to bigger problems

Guidelines for giving feedback:

  • Check your motivation for giving someone feedback.
  • Give feedback as immediately as possible.
  • Respect people’s needs for private discussions.
  • Be honest and upfront.
  • Recognise the positive aspects of a person’s performance.
  • Focus on specific performance examples, relating to things which actually happened in people’s jobs.
  • Make your discussions two way, ask questions, check reactions etc.
  • Vary your style according to the needs of the individual and situation.
  • Focus on helping to move someone’s performance forward.
  • Be tentative about information which is not completely clear.

Our team of skilled and experienced HR Consultants are available to discuss any related matter that this article highlights for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on or call our office on 01 5252914.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,