6 Detailed Examples of SMART HR Goals
Setting goals can keep employees motivated, keep your team aligned, and clarify expectations between management and employees.
Goals aren’t just great for individuals. They’re great for business too.
The right goals can support company growth, increase productivity, and reduce employee turnover.
Goals affecting individual employees, management and company as a whole. It’s no surprise that HR goals are especially important. HR goals take a big-picture view. Strategic HR goals make all other goals within the organization achievable.
Using SMART HR goals can lead the company in the right direction.
But exactly what do SMART goals look like?
Here are real-life HR SMART goal examples outlined with each step in the SMART process.
Overview of SMART criteria for setting effective HR goals
First, lets remind ourselves of exactly what the SMART criteria are:
- S is for specific
- M is for measurable
- A is for achievable
- R is for relevant
- T is for time-bound
For HR department goals to be considered SMART, they have to address each point in the SMART system.
That can feel like a tall order, but you have to carefully craft each goal if you want them to be as effective as possible.
Here are some effective HR goals and objective examples that are designed to follow the SMART system.
Examples of specific goals for HR
Specific goals are easier to achieve because the goal itself tells you what to do. Here are a few examples that show you how to make sure they are measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound too.
Example 1: Increase employee engagement by 10% within the next quarter
Even with a goal as seemingly specific as this one, you should still get even more specific.
How are you going to increase engagement? You might do it through:
- Regular feedback
- Recognition programs
- Team-building activities
Surveying employees and managers is a great way to get the data for this goal. Just make sure you take the time to create a clear, concise, measurable survey to get the best data.
Is achieving a 10% increase in engagement even achievable?
Conduct an assessment of the current state of employee engagement. This will help you identify possible strategies that will help you achieve your goal.
Employee engagement is crucial for performance and retention. That makes this goal perfectly aligned with HR and organizational objectives.
Set out to achieve the goal at the end of the quarter. This gives you enough time to see if you have achieved your goal with the ability to modify the goal or come up with a new one for the next quarter.
Example 2: Reduce employee turnover by 5% in the next year
Take a deep dive into exactly which retention strategies you want to use to reduce employee turnover. A few ideas include:
- Improved onboarding
- Career development opportunities
- Recognition programs
The best way to track and analyze this goal is to measure turnover rates every month. Monitor the progress you’re making each month towards your 5% reduction goal.
The best way to see what’s working and what’s not in the eyes of your employees is to conduct an exit interview analysis. You can identify key reasons for turnover and develop targeted, achievable retention strategies.
This goal is relevant because reducing turnover can lead to cost savings, increased productivity, and improved morale among remaining employees.
Set a time frame of one year to achieve a 5% reduction in employee turnover. This gives you plenty of time to conduct those exit interviews and make tweaks to see if what you’re doing is working.
Examples of measurable goals for HR
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." For your goals to be achievable, you have to measure them. Here’s one example you can use in your HR department.
Example 3: Increase employee performance ratings by 10% in the next performance appraisal cycle
How are you going to increase employee performance ratings?
Provide them with training and development opportunities that focus on skill-building. Plan these training sessions well ahead of time so that they don’t get squeezed out of the schedule in the name of finishing another project.
Track ratings carefully during the next performance appraisal cycle. Then, compare them with previous cycles to determine if progress is being made, and if so, what’s contributing to that progress.
Conducting a skills gap analysis enables you to see exactly where employees need the most support. That way you can provide targeted training programs to address those gaps.
Improving employee performance is always a worthwhile goal because it can lead to increased productivity, increased customer satisfaction, and overall organizational success.
Take a baseline measurement ahead of the next performance appraisal cycle. Then, measure again at the end of the cycle to see if you achieved a 10% increase in employee performance.
Examples of Achievable Goals for HR
Setting a goal that isn’t achievable just sets you up for future frustration. Here are a couple of SMART goals for HR that enable you to dig deep into what is achievable for you and your company.
Example 4: Develop and implement a succession planning program to identify high-potential employees for key leadership roles within the next two years
Getting specific means knowing how you’re going to identify high-potential employees and what you’re going to do when you find them.
Use performance assessments, talent reviews, and leadership assessments in the identification stage. Next, offer targeted development programs to those you have identified.
Not only do you have to identify high-potential employees, but you also have to continue measuring their readiness.
Take the time to monitor their progress as they complete development programs. Then, continue to track their readiness as they take on new projects and try out new leadership opportunities.
Prepare your high-potential employees for key leadership roles by conducting talent assessments, involving key stakeholders in the succession planning process, and allocatiing necessary resources for development initiatives.
This is a goal that is sometimes overlooked in the name of more pressing matters. It is, however, a relevant goal for companies that want to grow and see employees grow right along with them.
With this HR goal, you can:
- Create a pipeline of qualified leads for your leadership positions
- Mitigate talent gaps
- Support organizational growth
- Create a sustainable model of promoting your best employees
By setting a time frame of two years, you can implement a succession planning program accordingly. It gives you enough time to achieve your goal with an end date so you know when to reflect on the process.
Example 5: Implement a new performance management system within the next six months
If you’re ready to implement a new performance management system, don’t just pick a program and see how it goes. Create a goal that gives you the time to dig into your organizational needs and goals so you’re mindfully choosing the system that’s right for your organization.
Create smaller deadlines for implementing different aspects of the system. You’ll have to allocate plenty of time at the beginning of the process to do research. That way you can track how each stage of the process unfolds before moving on to the next stage.
The key to this goal isn't just to implement a new performance management system. It's to implement the right performance management system. To achieve that, you need to:
- Thoroughly evaluate multiple performance management systems
- Involve key stakeholders in the process
- Allocate the necessary resources for successful implementation
Many companies limp along with performance management systems that don’t really work. Creating a dedicated goal for your performance management process will enhance employee performance, development, and engagement. This will lead to improved overall organizational performance.
Setting a time frame of six months gives you enough time to implement a new performance management system without feeling rushed. Start by implementing one type of performance appraisal. Once the cycle is complete, you can create a new HR SMART goal to integrate a different kind of review, like a 360 review, into the process.
Examples of time-bound goals for HR
Time-bound goals are often the hardest for HR. That said, attaching a time limit to your goals means you know exactly when to assess whether or not you achieved that goal. It also encourages you to create a new goal after the time frame is up.
Here’s one example of a goal with a shorter time frame.
Example 6: Conduct performance reviews for all employees within the next four weeks
Break down the performance review cycle into smaller chunks. Set aside time for goal setting, feedback, and development discussions as part of the four-week process.
Tally up the completion of every performance review and monitor progress towards completion. This will allow you to take action with those who are trailing behind as the deadline approaches.
To achieve the goal of completing all performance reviews within four weeks, you have to allocate the necessary resources. Those include time, personnel, and technology. Make a plan upfront instead of trying to allocate resources during the process.
Reviews are essential for providing feedback, setting expectations, and aligning individual performance with organizational goals.
Four weeks gives you time to accomplish this goal without spending too much time on performance management. That way you can give it the attention it deserves with a plan to get back to business as usual when the four weeks are over.
Recapping Examples of HR Goals
It feels good to set goals, but if those goals aren’t specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, you aren’t likely to see them come to fruition.
Take the time upfront to create HR department goals that follow the SMART framework. That way, you’ll give yourself the best chance at accomplishing exactly what you’ve set out to do.