Goal setting can be the crucial element that sets one team apart from another. Both individual employees and groups can be motivated and more productive when they have a measurable, attainable goal. SMART goals are the best way to help employees set benchmarks—and then achieve them. Here’s how to help your team create SMART goals this year.
What Are SMART Goals?
According to Business Insider, most people never achieve their New Year’s resolutions because they aren’t specific or attainable. That’s the idea behind SMART goals; to develop a measurable methodology behind creating realistic goals that you can actually achieve. SMART goals stand for:
- Specific goals that have a relevant, attainable outcome.
- Measurable goals that you can actually track.
- Attainable goals that are also realistically achievable.
- Relevant in a way that pertains to an individual or group.
- Timely or based on a measurable, limited time framework.
SMART goals are a proven way for companies to help improve productivity. To help your teams increase their output and even develop goals that will motivate them to succeed, managers must first introduce SMART goals in a way that encourages employee buy-in in the process. You can use SMART goals to increase team engagement. Here’s how to do it.
Increasing Team Engagement with SMART Goals
The first step toward SMART goals is to increase participation in goal-setting by your team. Talk with your employees about the idea behind SMART goals and then set these goals together with each member of the team. This can help build a culture of accountability within your team for individuals and as a group. Managers can facilitate the process of working toward and achieving SMART goals by:
- Checking in regularly with the team. Set one-on-one meetings with employees regularly to talk about the progress they’ve made toward their SMART goals. This holds them accountable and keeps them engaged. But it also makes sure the goal is still relevant and achievable. If it isn’t, it’s time to change it.
- Talk about the big picture. How do the employee’s SMART goals affect the team? How does it relate to the mission of the organization? Everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of a mission that’s larger than themselves. Talking about individual SMART goals within the context of the overall success of the company will engage everyone in striving toward an achievable bottom line. This will help bridge gaps between employees, help build company culture, and ultimately, increase productivity.
- Reward both the big and small wins. Incentivize employees who hit the numbers. This is critical to keeping people motivated and engaged. It doesn’t have to be a huge incentive, either, but a series of small motivations that can keep people climbing a series of small mountains each week. Then, at the end of the process, a bigger goal can be rewarded with a bigger incentive. Make sure the incentive is something that has value both to the individual and the team. Extra vacation can be just as valuable as a cash incentive. Gift cards are great for small rewards. The point is that each benchmark is achieved as a milestone that you can celebrate.
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