How to Conduct an Employee Goal Setting Session

Goal setting is an important value and skill set to impress upon new employees in any business, from sales to finance.  You’ll want to have a team of individuals who are skilled at visualizing a positive end impact and have the motivation and skills to be able to get to that end point with maximum results and minimal time.  How can you help your employees understand this concept and use it to the fullest extent when you’re working with them through the limited medium of a seminar?

One of the most popular ways to go over the idea of goal setting is through the SMART acronym, which is an easy concept for instructors to teach and an unforgettable session for employees.  It’s not unforgettable in the sense that it will totally wow the audience – if you can find a way to teach seminars and thrill your audience about business practices let us know – but it’s easy to remember and likely will help your employees when they’re going through the process of goal setting and accomplishment.

SMART stands for “Specific,” “Measurable,” “Actionable,” “Realistic,” and “Time-Bound.”  If you look up the SMART acronym elsewhere on the Internet you’ll likely find that the exact words in the acronym changes slightly depending on where you’re getting the information from, but the general message is the same.  Read on for the lowdown on what these words actually mean in the context of goal setting:

Specific: goals need to be specific and clear in scope.  What exactly is the team trying to accomplish, and why?  The goal should be easy to communicate, even to “laypeople” or those outside of the industry for maximum effect.  When everybody understands what the group is working for, and how it will benefit and enhance the company, it’s easier to have cohesive action on that point. This part is commonly called the “buy-in” in business parlance, where all employees at all levels of the process understand the goal and identify with it and the corporate mission behind the goals.

Measurable:  if you can’t measure the goal, there’s no way you’ll be able to manage it.  You need to know if you’re progressing toward a goal or not, and you need to have certain “yardsticks” to know if your current actions are taking you closer to the goal or farther away from it.  This is a big step, and is put second in the acronymn not only for semantic value, but it’s also a part of the goal-setting process that is considered as an afterthought, when it should really be put up front for maximum impact.

Actionable: all employees have to know what, exactly, they need to do to make the goal become a reality.  Having general ideals is good, but in the context of business the employees need to have set actions to base their success by.  If nobody knows what they should be doing, the goal will never become actuality.

Realistic: this falls along the lines of actionable.  If your goals aren’t realistic, the action will never be possible.  To this end, make sure that all your employees have the skills they need to be able to take the actions that have to happen in order for goals to be achieved.

Time Bound: when will the goal be completed?  Deadlines give motivation to employees, as well as give a sense of satisfaction when people see progress being made on a schedule.

At your next employee goal setting session, try getting SMART with your goal planning.  You’ll be surprised how well most people will absorb this information and get on the track to goal-setting success – which is music to the ears of any company.