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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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SMART goals are a widely recognized and effective framework for setting objectives and achieving success in various aspects of life, from personal development to professional endeavors. The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, and it provides a structured approach to goal-setting that increases the likelihood of accomplishing desired outcomes.

What are SMART goals?

SMART goals are a framework for setting clear and actionable objectives that are more likely to be achieved. The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These criteria provide a structured approach to goal-setting, whether in personal development, business, education, or any other area.

Here's what each component of SMART goals means:

  1. Specific: Your goal should be clear and well-defined. It answers the questions of "What," "Why," and "How." It should leave no room for ambiguity, ensuring everyone understands the objective.
  2. Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable, allowing you to track progress and determine when they are achieved. This might involve using numbers, percentages, or other concrete metrics.
  3. Achievable: Goals should be realistic and attainable. While they can be challenging, they should still be within reach given your resources, time, and capabilities.
  4. Relevant: The goal should align with your broader objectives and be relevant to your current circumstances and needs. It should make sense in the context of your life or business.
  5. Time-bound: Goals should have a clear deadline or timeframe. This adds a sense of urgency and helps you prioritize and focus your efforts.
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Why are SMART goals important?

SMART goals are important for several reasons:

  1. Clarity and focus
  2. Measurable progress
  3. Achievability
  4. Relevance
  5. Time management
  6. Accountability
  7. Motivation
  1. Clarity and focus: SMART goals force you to clearly define what you want to achieve. They eliminate ambiguity and provide a specific target to aim for, helping you stay focused on your objectives.
  2. Measurable progress: By making goals measurable, you can track your progress over time. This not only helps you see how far you've come but also provides motivation as you see yourself getting closer to your goal.
  3. Achievability: SMART goals require you to consider whether your objectives are realistic and attainable given your resources and constraints. This prevents setting goals that are too far out of reach, reducing frustration and increasing the likelihood of success.
  4. Relevance: SMART goals ensure that your objectives align with your broader mission, values, and priorities. This helps you stay on course and avoid pursuing goals that don't contribute to your overall success.
  5. Time management: The time-bound aspect of SMART goals sets a deadline for achievement. This sense of urgency encourages effective time management and prevents procrastination.
  6. Accountability: SMART goals make it easier to assign responsibility. When goals are specific and measurable, it's clear who is responsible for what and when it should be accomplished.
  7. Motivation: SMART goals are motivating because they provide a clear path to success. Achieving milestones and seeing progress can boost your confidence and enthusiasm.

Give examples of SMART goals.

Here are 2 examples of smart goals.

1. Professional Development

  • Specific: I want to improve my leadership skills.
  • Measurable: I will attend leadership workshops, read two leadership books, and receive positive feedback on my leadership abilities from at least two colleagues.
  • Achievable: I have access to leadership resources, and I will dedicate time each month to self-improvement.
  • Relevant: Enhancing my leadership skills will help me excel in my current role and contribute more effectively to my team.
  • Time-bound: I aim to achieve noticeable improvement in my leadership abilities within six months.

2. Financial

  • Specific: I want to save money for a vacation.
  • Measurable: I will save $3,000 by the end of the year by setting aside a portion of my monthly income and cutting unnecessary expenses.
  • Achievable: I can adjust my budget to allocate funds for savings, and I have identified areas where I can reduce spending.
  • Relevant: Saving for a vacation aligns with my personal goal of exploring new places.
  • Time-bound: I plan to have $3,000 saved by December 31st of this year.

How to write a SMART goal?

To write a SMART goals:

1. Start with a clear objective (Specific)

Begin by defining precisely what you want to achieve. Your goal should be clear, concise, and specific. Ask yourself:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why is this goal important?
  • What are the key details and specific requirements?
  • Example: "I want to improve my digital marketing skills."

2. Make it measurable

Your goal should be quantifiable so that you can track your progress and determine when you've achieved it. To make it measurable, ask yourself:

  • How will I measure or quantify my progress?
  • What are the criteria for success?
  • What data or metrics will I use to assess my progress?
  • Example: "I will measure my progress by completing two online marketing courses and increasing website traffic by 20% within six months."

3. Ensure it's achievable

  • Assess whether your goal is realistic and attainable given your resources, time, and capabilities. To ensure achievability, consider:
  • Do I have the necessary skills and resources?
  • Is the goal challenging but realistic?
  • Can I realistically achieve this goal within the given constraints?
  • Example: "Given my current workload and available time, I will allocate at least 5 hours per week to online courses and practical application."

4. Make it relevant

Ensure that your goal aligns with your broader objectives and priorities. To establish relevance, think about:

  • Does this goal matter to me or my organization?
  • How does it fit into the bigger picture?
  • Is it worth pursuing at this time?
  • Example: "Improving my digital marketing skills is relevant because it will enhance my career prospects and contribute to the company's online marketing efforts."

5. Set a deadline (Time-bound)

Establish a specific timeframe for achieving your goal. This adds a sense of urgency and helps with planning. To make it time-bound, ask yourself:

  • When do I want to achieve this goal?
  • Is there a specific deadline or timeframe?
  • What can I do today, this week, or this month to work towards it?
  • Example: "I aim to complete the two online marketing courses and achieve the website traffic increase within the next six months."

6. Write down your SMART Goal

Summarize your goal, incorporating all the elements of SMART into a clear and concise statement. A SMART goal statement typically follows this format:

  • "I will [specific action] by [measurable criteria] within [timeframe], and this goal is relevant because [reason]."
  • Example: "I will improve my digital marketing skills by completing two online marketing courses and increasing website traffic by 20% within six months, and this goal is relevant because it will enhance my career prospects and contribute to the company's online marketing efforts."

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

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