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SMART Goals For HR professionals- A Quick Review With Examples

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The concept of SMART Goals is probably already familiar to you. They're specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals. But how does this idea apply to HR?

HR departments have different functions, including hiring new staff, managing employee performance, training, development, improving culture and employee experience, succession planning, compensation, and benefits.

As an HR professional, it is essential, to sum up, all your priorities about the organization and its employees in one word: balance.

It would be best to decide on the company's needs and preferences and the employees' needs and objectives. Then you are charged with seeking the middle ground that suits both sides. For HR practitioners, this is the core of all Smart Goals.

It is important to set SMART HR professional development goals because it gives you a framework of action plans for achieving milestones in the work you do. They give you a time frame, with a long-term view and quick inspiration to produce concrete results that can show how the organization is supported and developed by HR.

Examples of SMART Goals for HR Professionals

1. Employee Engagement

Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it. - Timothy R. Clark

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment employees have towards their work and organization. It is highly crucial for fostering a positive workplace culture and driving organizational success.

Setting a SMART goal for increasing employee engagement provides HR with a clear roadmap to focus efforts, track progress, and ensure that initiatives are aligned with improving employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.

Smart Goal

To increase employee engagement scores by 10% by the end of 2024.

Specific: Improve overall employee satisfaction and morale.
Measurable: Increase employee engagement scores from the current 65% to 75% by December 31, 2024.
Attainable: Implement regular feedback mechanisms, recognition programs, and professional development opportunities to boost engagement.
Relevant: Higher employee engagement leads to increased productivity, lower turnover rates, and better overall organizational performance.
Timely: Within the timeframe of 2024, starting from January 1 to December 31.

2. Training and development

An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. — Jack Welch

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, investing in employee development is more important than ever to stay competitive. By providing targeted training programs, organizations can empower their workforce, foster a culture of continuous learning, and ultimately drive business success.

Smart Goal

To enhance employee skill development by implementing at least two new training programs focused on leadership and technical skills by the end of 2024.

Specific: Improve employee skill sets through targeted training programs.
Measurable: Launch two new training programs focused on leadership and technical skills by December 31, 2024.
Attainable: Identify training needs through employee surveys and performance evaluations and collaborate with subject matter experts to develop relevant training content.
Relevant: Strengthening employee skills will contribute to improved job performance, employee satisfaction, and overall organizational success.
Timely: Within the timeframe of 2024, starting from January 1 to December 31.

3. Employee Wellness

A healthy outside starts from the inside. - Robert Urich

Employee wellness programs play a vital role in promoting health, well-being, and productivity in the workplace. By prioritizing employee wellness, organizations can reduce absenteeism, enhance morale, and improve overall employee satisfaction.

Smart Goal

To reduce employee absenteeism due to stress-related illnesses by 20% by the end of 2024.

Specific: Address stress-related issues through targeted wellness initiatives and support programs.
Measurable: Achieve a 20% decrease in the number of sick days taken due to stress-related illnesses by December 31, 2024.
Attainable: Implement stress management workshops, flexible work arrangements, and employee assistance programs to support employees' mental and emotional well-being.
Relevant: Promoting employee wellness contributes to a healthier and more engaged workforce, leading to increased productivity and reduced turnover.
Timely: Within the timeframe of 2024, starting from January 1 to December 31.

4. Performance Management

Performance should be an expectation of employment and it is the leaders’ job to create an environment where maximum performance is possible. - Rob Burn

Effective performance management processes are essential for aligning employee goals with organizational objectives, providing feedback and recognition, and driving continuous improvement.

Smart Goal

To improve employee performance feedback frequency by implementing quarterly performance reviews for all employees by the end of 2024.

Specific: Enhance the frequency and quality of performance feedback through structured quarterly reviews.
Measurable: Conduct quarterly performance reviews for all employees, providing actionable feedback and development opportunities, by December 31, 2024.
Attainable: Develop performance review templates, train managers on providing constructive feedback, and establish a feedback culture that encourages ongoing communication.
Relevant: Regular performance feedback supports employee development, goal achievement, and overall organizational success.
Timely: Within the timeframe of 2024, starting from January 1 to December 31.

5. Employee Recognition and Rewards Program

A lot of people who are doing important work in organizations are going unrecognized and unnoticed… A lot of the critical work people do, especially if it's not in their job description, is invisible to senior leaders. And it's one of the reasons why peer recognition programs are so important. - Cy Wakeman

Recognizing and rewarding employee contributions is crucial for fostering a culture of appreciation, motivation, and engagement. By implementing effective recognition and rewards programs, organizations can reinforce desired behaviors, boost morale, and strengthen employee loyalty.

Smart Goal

To enhance employee morale and engagement by launching a new employee recognition and rewards program and achieving a 90% participation rate by the end of 2024.

Specific: Develop and roll out a comprehensive employee recognition and rewards program. It would include both formal and informal recognition mechanisms to celebrate individual and team achievements.
Measurable: Achieve a 90% participation rate in the employee recognition and rewards program, as measured by the number of nominations and awards given out, by December 31, 2024.
Attainable: Collaborate with cross-functional teams to design and implement the recognition program, promote awareness and participation through internal communication channels, and regularly evaluate program effectiveness and employee feedback.
Relevant: Investing in employee recognition and rewards reinforces positive behaviors, enhances morale, and strengthens employee engagement, contributing to a positive work culture and organizational success.
Timely: Within the timeframe of 2024, starting from January 1 to December 31.

6. Flexible Work Policies

Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. —Betsy Jacobson, Author and Businesswoman

As work preferences evolve and remote work becomes more common, offering flexible work arrangements is essential for:

attracting and retaining top talent, promoting work-life balance, and supporting employee well-being.

By implementing flexible work policies, organizations can accommodate diverse needs and preferences, boost employee satisfaction, and drive productivity.

Smart Goal

To enhance employee work-life balance and satisfaction by implementing flexible work policies and achieving a 90% employee satisfaction rate with work arrangements by the end of 2024.

Specific: Develop and communicate flexible work policies that allow employees to choose from a range of work arrangements, including remote work, flexible hours, and compressed workweeks, based on individual and team needs.
Measurable: Achieve a 90% employee satisfaction rate with work arrangements, as measured by employee surveys and feedback, by December 31, 2024.
Attainable: Consult with employees and managers to identify preferred work arrangements. Establish clear guidelines and expectations for flexible work. Finally, provide training and support to managers and teams to effectively manage remote and flexible work arrangements.
Relevant: Offering flexible work policies promotes employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention, enabling employees to achieve better work-life balance and contribute to organizational success.
Timely: Within the timeframe of 2024, starting from January 1 to December 31.

I trust these examples have shed ample light on SMART goals for HR professionals. Yet, for added clarity, delve into five more simplified examples in this blog.

7. Talent Acquisition

You’re not just recruiting employees, but are sowing the seeds of your profitability and reputation. - Unknown

It is time to take a step back, review your achievements in talent acquisition, and set new recruitment targets. Hiring managers need to make time to keep up with the evolving trends as static recruiting methods make way for smart goals. Keep the recruiting game healthy by setting the right targets for 2024.

Here is one of the examples of SMART Goal for HR Professionals in Talent Acquisition.

Smart Goal

To increase the percentage of active job openings filled during the expected deadline from 45% to 55% in 2024.

Specific: Increase our hiring process in 2024.
Measurable: To 55% in 2024.
Attainable: From 45% in 2023 to 55% in 2024.
Relevant: To maximize hiring effectiveness, reduce cost-to-hire, and hire star players.
Timely: From 2023-2024

8. Talent Retention

Retaining top talent isn't merely a strategy, it's an art. The canvas is Trust, the palette is Accountability, Love is the brush, Empowerment the colors, No micromanagement is the space, and Teamwork is the picture we create. The masterpiece of retention is, in fact, spelled T.A.L.E.N.T. - Farshad Asl

For most organizations, talent retention is hard; many don't even have a retention strategy or goal. Especially when you consider the record-low levels of unemployment and the ongoing battle for talent, employee retention is a significant concern.

Listen to our podcast on: Talent management - How to recruit and retain your best employees?


To better retain our existing talent and save on the costs associated with new hires, you want to increase our current annual retention rate of 45% to 65% by 2024.

Specific: Reduce our annual retention rate
Measurable: to 65% by 2024
Attainable: from 45% in 2023 to 65% in 2024.
Relevant: to better retain existing talent and save on the costs associated with new hires
Timely: From 2023-2024.


9. Revamp Employee Experience

In a world where money is no longer the primary motivating factor for employees, focusing on the employee experience is the most promising competitive advantage that organizations can create. - Jacob Morgan

One of the critical goals of any organization that wants to thrive is recruiting and retaining the brightest and best. As an HR professional, you must help the company accomplish this objective by preserving employee experience at a high level. You should ensure that the new and existing staff are happy to work with the organization to don't look around for other opportunities.

Smart Goal

To increase the percentage of employees who exhibit higher engagement levels from 40% to 50% in 2024.

Specific: Boost employee experience with rewards and recognition.
Measurable: To 50% in 2024.
Attainable: From 40% in 2023 to 50% in 2024.
Relevant: Companies with better employee experience report 22% higher productivity, according to Gallup.
Timely: From 2023-2024.

10. Strengthen the Feedback Structure

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. - Bill Gates

In this competitive business age, why is it essential to concentrate on an effective feedback structure?

Only 10.4% of employees whose manager's feedback left them with negative feelings are engaged, and 4 out of 5 say they're actively or passively looking for other employment.

There are apparent bad implications of giving feedback in the wrong way. Whereas providing inspirational feedback is worth the time and effort. It keeps employees satisfied, which in turn helps you improve your organizational productivity.

Here's one example of SMART goals for HR professionals related to employee feedback.

Smart Goal

To increase sales from 20% to 30% in 2024 by eliminating ambiguity and misunderstanding through proper feedback.

Specific: To improve sales performance
Measurable: By 20% in 2024
Attainable: From 20% in 2023 to 30% in 2024.
Relevant: Employees should feel their work is meaningful and contributes to the organization as a whole.
Timely: Quarterly feedback to employees.

11. Boost Company culture

You can have all the right strategies in the world; if you don't have the right culture, you're dead. - Patrick Whitesell

Just 27% of employees strongly agree they believe in their company's values, and 23% of employees strongly agree they can apply their organization's values to their work every day.- Gallup Analytics.

Employees with a good company culture exhibit higher levels of commitment. Committed workers are, again, more likely to recommend their organization to friends.

Listen to our podcast on: How leaders can communicate a company's culture to employees

Here's one example of SMART Goals for HR professionals to boost company culture

Smart Goal

Increase the percentage of workers who express we have a positive work environment from 75% in 2023 to 80% in 2024.

Specific: To maintain a positive, values-based work environment.
Measurable: Increase the percentage of positive employee feedback from 75% to 80%.
Attainable: From 75% in 2023 to 80% in 2024.
Relevant: To make the majority of the employees live the values of the organization.
Timely: Quarterly workplace survey.

Few other examples of SMART Goals for HR Professionals

  • Reduce churn rate by 20% by the end of the year.
  • Increase the review completion rate by 15% in the next quarter by streamlining the review process.
  • Increase the participation in team-building activities by 15% in the next quarter by permitting more flexible workshop schedules.

Read our blog on: 10 Best Virtual Team Building Activities for Remote Employees

  • Achieve over 80 % internal satisfaction with HR systems in the next six months by efficiently sharing the workload through our regular discussions.
  • Minimize time on manual administrative tasks by 30% in the next six months.

Wrapping it up with 3 tips on personal SMART Goals for HR Professionals

  • Learn about the HR industry's ecosystem before you do something else and find out what resources are available.
  • After you have understood everything you can about HR's broad topics, you should know whether you want to be a generalist HR personnel or a specialist in one or two fields.
  • Once you have determined if you wish to be a generalist or a specialist, you should look for more educational opportunities, including workshops and seminars, and gain more and more experience in your profession.

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a digital marketer at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest in research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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