Set SMART performance goals

What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed. Setting SMART goals is important because through the power of goal setting, managers can set objectives for their teams to accomplish.

Use the prompts below to ensure you set SMART performance goals with your employees.


  • What will the goal accomplish? Think about how you will accomplish it and why.
  • Avoid generalities.
  • Focus on a particular aspect of the employee's performance or on the task in question.


  • How will you measure success? Will there be a visible outcome/impact? Has the goal has been achieved? (List at least two indicators)
  • Consider quality, quantity, timeliness and cost.


  • Is it possible? Have others done it successfully?
  • Do you and the employee agree that the actions are suitable for implementation?
  • Does the employee have the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities and resources to accomplish the goal?
  • Will meeting the goal challenge without defeating?
  • Do not assign too many goals.


  • What is the reason, purpose or benefit of accomplishing the goal?
  • What is the result (not activities leading up to the result) of the goal?
  • Link to the higher-level business unit goals and ensure the employee understands the link.
  • Given the strengths and limitations of the employee, ensure that the tasks set are not so stretching that they act as de-motivators.


  • What is the established completion date and does that completion date create a practical sense of urgency?

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