HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.

Smart Goals

What Are SMART Goals?

The SMART goal method is a productivity tool that can help set more effective goals and objectives for any given project, whether short-term or long-term goals. SMART stands for:

  • Specific: The more well-defined the goal is, the better. Vague, open-ended goals are usually harder or impossible to achieve.
  • Measurable: Clearly define what success looks like for your goal, so you’ll be able to know when you’ve reached it.
  • Attainable: You want your goal to be realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting a plan that isn’t achievable.
  • Relevant: If your goal isn’t relevant to your job or organization, why are you setting it?
  • Timely: A goal without a deadline isn’t likely to be met. Set reasonable, timely deadlines for all of your goals.

How Do SMART Goals Differ from Traditional Goals?

SMART goals involve specific, detailed, and measurable methods for achieving said goal. A non-smart goal might sound as simple as “I want people to stay at our company longer.” Nothing about this goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, or timely. 

Turn this into a SMART goal by saying, “To better retain our existing talent and save on the costs associated with new hires, I want to reduce our current annual turnover rate of 25% to 15% by the end of the year.” This goal offers specifics and gives you measurable indicators of achieving the goal. 

How Do SMART Goals Impact HR Processes?

SMART goals can improve HR processes by helping to identify points of concern and outlining clear ways to address said issues. SMART goals aim to create a specific and measurable plan for tackling HR concerns.

For SMART goals to be truly effective, they need to align with your mission statement. Use an audit to determine if you are effectively practicing what you state in your mission statement. For example, perhaps your mission is to hire the best and brightest teammates for your organization, but your new hire onboarding process is lacking and turnover rates are higher than expected. Use SMART goals to make adjustments to your approach. Create measurable goals to help improve your retention rates.

Related Terms: MIssion Statement

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