Setting SMART HR Goals
What are HR specific goals? And why should you have them?
You’re probably already familiar with the concept of goals and goal setting, but how does that idea relate to HR?
Setting goals for HR is important because they give you a framework to achieve milestones in the work you do. They provide you with long-term vision and short-term motivation and create tangible results that can demonstrate how HR supports and grows the organization
It's also important to keep in mind that your HR goals should be in alignment with your organization wide goals for the year. By aligning your goals with the organization's strategy and vision, you’re ensuring that you’re all working towards the same desired state and therefore your work isn’t resulting in unnecessary friction or self-created roadblocks.
When you are creating your HR goals, you’ll want to keep the SMART model in mind
SMART stands for:
Specific: The more well defined the goal is, the better—vague, open-ended goals are harder 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 goal that isn’t achievable.
Relevant: If your goal isn’t relevant to your job or your organization, then 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.
Here are some examples of goals that do / don’t meet each of the individual SMART criteria:
Non-specific goal: Hire people faster.
Specific goal: Reduce our current time-to-hire.
Non-measurable goal: Reduce turnover rate.
Measurable goal: Reduce turnover rate by 15%.
Non-attainable goal: Go all year without losing a single employee.
Attainable goal: Increase our retention rate from 80% to 90% for the year.
Non-relevant goal: Reduce go-to-market costs.
Relevant goal: Increase the number of qualified applicants who apply for open positions.
Non-timely goal: Implement emergency evacuation plan.
Timely goal: Implement emergency evacuation plan before the end of Q1.
Let’s look at some goals that do / do not meet the SMART criteria in its entirety.
Non-SMART goal: I want people to stay at our company longer.
SMART goal: 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.
Specific: reduce our annual turnover rate
Measurable: to 15%
Attainable: from 25% to 15%
Relevant: to better retain existing talent and save on the costs associated with new hires
Timely: by the end of the year
Here’s another example:
Non-SMART goal: I want to hire people faster.
SMART goal: In order to increase hiring efficiency, lower cost-to-hire and to hire top talent, I want to reduce our time-to-hire from 30 days to 20 days by the end of the second quarter.
Specific: I want to reduce our time-to-hire.
Measurable: to 20 days
Attainable: from 30 days to 20 days
Relevant: to increase hiring efficiency, lower cost-to-hire and to hire top talent
Timely: by the end of the second quarter
Tips for goal setting
Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when determining your goals:
- Make sure the goals you’re setting are in-line with your organization’s—and your team’s—mission statements
- Use your HR audit to identify which areas your department can improve in
- It’s ok to start with a vague non-SMART goal and build it out into a SMART goal
- Make sure you have, or can obtain, the necessary resources to meet your goals
- Keep goals attainable, but also make sure they’re challenging—that's how you grow
- Remember to celebrate and reward yourself when you meet your goals
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