Sharlyn Lauby, SHRM-SCP, is an author, writer, speaker, and consultant. She shares her wealth of human resources knowledge through her blog HR Bartender, a “friendly place to talk about workplace issues,” and recently published her first book, Essential Meeting Blueprints for Managers.
In January 2016, Lauby led a Capella University-sponsored webinar entitled “5 Ways to Master Learning Agility,” during which she focused on how to use goals to manage your career. In this post, she shares her go-to tool for setting and tracking personal and organizational goals.
If we set the right goals and manage them well, we can make things happen for ourselves and our organizations. That’s why I think we have to find a tool that can be used for any goal exercise. The idea being, learn one flexible tool and learn it really well. Then use it in any situation.
I believe that tool is SMART. It’s an acronym first penned in 1981 by George T. Doran, a consultant and former director of corporate planning for the Washington Water Power Company, in the paper titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.”
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Responsible and Time-Bound. You can use SMART as a guide to developing and monitoring goals.
Specific: What is the goal to be accomplished?
Measurable: What will success look like?
Actionable: What are the steps it will take to achieve the goal?
Responsible: Who will be accountable for accomplishing each step?
Time-bound: When should tasks be completed?
As human resources professionals, we spend a lot of time within the functions of management: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. All of those functions involve goals, whether that’s goal setting, monitoring, evaluating, or adjusting. Here are a few examples:
#1 Organizational: According to SHRM, job openings in the U.S. are at a 14-year high. The CEO is concerned about finding the best talent, so HR plans to add a mobile recruiting strategy in 2016. A SMART plan might include some of these items:
Specific: Develop a mobile recruiting strategy
Measurable: Have a mobile optimized career portal that allows candidates to apply using their mobile device.
Actionable: Meet with current HR technology provider regarding career portal optimization
Meet with IT regarding converting site to mobile
Review existing portal content and update where necessary
Develop communication plan to share with senior management, recruiting managers and employees
Responsible: HR, IT, SEO vendor for career portal updates, marketing for communications plan
Time-bound: Q3 2016
#2 Departmental: As part of adding a company-wide mobile recruiting strategy, HR realizes it needs to update their existing social recruiting strategy. This department SMART plan becomes a subset of the larger organizational SMART plan.
Specific: Revise social media recruiting strategy to include mobile
Measurable: Candidates will be able to share jobs on social media using their mobile device
Actionable: Meet with marketing to determine best social sites to include in social recruiting
Meet with IT regarding firewalls and privacy
Create a lunch and learn series for employees on using social media
Responsible: HR, IT, marketing for social media analytics, employees who can teach social media lunch and learn sessions
Time-bound: Q2 2016 (ideally this should be done before the mobile recruiting strategy is rolled out)
#3 Individual: A member of the recruiting team realizes they should learn Twitter as part of the new social and mobile recruiting strategy.
Specific: Learn Twitter
Measurable: Recruit one employee using Twitter
Actionable: Sign up for a Twitter account
Download a Twitter app for phone
Attend a workshop or webinar about Twitter recruiting
Develop a list of 10 recruiting hashtags
Post one open job every day for 30 days
Responsible: Self, manager (for approval to attend workshop), IT (for access to Twitter)
Time-bound: April 2016
Sometimes SMART can be labeled as only a professional development tool or only a project management tool. The examples show it has the flexibility to be a goals tool that can be used every day. Any time we are trying to accomplish something, we want to know the task, the steps, the people responsible, the time we have to complete it, and finally what the finished product is supposed to look like. It’s all about working SMART.
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