How To Use SMART Goals For Employee Engagement?

by Srikant Chellappa Oct 14,2019

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

What Are SMART Goals?

Measuring performance is one of the many important aspects of every business. It is a continuous process that involves collecting and analyzing information regarding the performance of individual employees or a specific department.

How do you measure performance? There are many employee performance metrics that are used to measure their performance from time to time like OKRs, KPI, etc. No matter what the metrics are, they usually work only when they are SMART.

SMART is a methodology against which you can measure your goals. If your goals and objectives are SMART, then you’ve won half the battle.

The concept of SMART goals seems to have first originated from George T. Doran in 1981.  Take a look at the picture to your right where the S.M.A.R.T acronym has been expanded. Right now, those words can mean many different things. Let’s explore the concept a little further.

Also read: 7 Steps To Setting Workplace Goals And Making Them Happen

When you create employee goals and objectives – keeping the S.M.AR.T acronym in mind would be a good idea. But why would it be a good idea? Here is why.

  1. Specific – Have a specific purpose. If your goal isn’t specific, it’s going to be doomed from the start.
  2. Measurable – What is the point of setting a goal if you cannot measure it? When you can measure a goal, you will also be able to tell if the goal was met successfully or not.
  3. Achievable – There needs to be a sweet spot for your goals. They cannot be too easy, but nor can they be too difficult. Your goal needs to make you break a light sweat and motivate yourself, not fill you with despair.
  4. Relevant – Goal-setting in itself is not enough – you must make sure that these goals are relevant to the people who will utilize them. And of course, they must also align with organizational goals and help with organization growth.
  5. Time-Bound – Goals cannot be forever without any end in sight. There needs to be a time period during which the goal can be carried out and the objective met. More importantly, when goals are time-bound, they also tend to be motivating.

It is not that the SMART acronym is without its faults and critics. However, it is important to note that despite being first established 30 years or so ago – the acronym still holds value today. It acts as a checklist of sorts and by keeping it in mind when writing your objectives, you are essentially creating a crude version of a good objective that has all the necessary information. All it needs is refining!

Also Read: Download the ultimate guide to employee engagement survey and templates

SMART Goals For Employee Engagement

Why is it important to focus on employee engagement in this competitive business age? We often come across interesting articles which convey that engaged employees can help you increase your organizational productivity.

But larger organizations more often focus on their deadlines and on getting the work done. They tend to forget that it is also important for employees to be enthusiastic about what they are doing. One engaged employee can contribute a lot more to organizational productivity than ten disengaged employees.

Engagement at workplace is not a change that you can bring about overnight. It is a culture that should be fostered gradually by encouraging employees to participate and communicate more.

Setting clear and distinct goals is very important to complete any task. As a manager/HR, it is important to set clear goals for your employees so that everyone works towards a collective goal.

Also Read: What Are Objectives And Key Results?

How do SMART Goals Promote Employee Engagement?

Say, you have a set of objectives that you need to meet. And so does a colleague. At some point, both of you realize that in order to achieve your objectives you need to meet each other halfway. While you might initially start to collaborate because you need your colleague’s help to excel, over time, you will realize that in the process of collaborating, you have also begun communicating.

Setting SMART goals at every level, not just personal, but also at the company and team levels means that at some point or the other, all employees will begin communicating. At first, it might be out of necessity, but over time it becomes genuine and organic. Good performance can turn ordinary teams into high-performance teams. 

Knowing about an organization’s goals, objectives and key results and how an employee fits into the grand scheme of things give everybody a clearer idea about the big picture, and how they fit into the big picture. Once they know what role they play in an organization, drives employee engagement and employees find it much easier to meet goals and objectives. And that, of course, leads to key results being met!

Using Goal Setting Software like Engagedly, employees can create goals for themselves and their direct reports in the goals module.

Engagedly also has an option to align the individual goals with the organizational goals so that employees know how their individual goal success is contributing to the accomplishment of organizational goals. In Engagedly, goals can also be reviewed by managers from time to time to check if their employees are on the right track.

What do you think of SMART goals? Do you feel like an organization can do without them? Or do you think they are integral to an organization’s growth and success? Share your opinions with us!

Do you want to know how SMART goals can drive employee engagement at your organization?

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Srikant Chellappa
President/CEO and Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2023.

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