Arguably the most important function that human resources departments provide for an organization is formulating goals and then developing appropriate strategies that drive the organization towards achieving those goals. While formulating goals is a necessary function of every HR department, the process of setting goals is not always easy or successful. The following are tips that human resources professionals may consider when setting goals that can help to ensure a higher degree of success in achieving those goals.

Make Sure Goals Are Clear and Specific

Vague or very general goals such as “improving productivity” can be discouraging. If production quantities do not improve, the goal is likely to be ignored.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if production quantities improve even the slightest bit, employees may feel that the goal has been accomplished. Either result can cause employees to ignore or forget about the goal and become sidetracked from working toward improvements.

Set Deadlines for Goals

A goal without a deadline will likely go unaccomplished. Employees will more than likely put the goal on their mental backburners for an undefined “later date.” Even employees with the best of intentions can forget about a goal if there’s no defined deadline to achieve it.

Keep Goals Attainable but Challenging

Reaching goals should be a challenge that helps to keep all of the employees in the organization driven. Goals that are very easily attainable will not help to drive employees to the levels of productivity that can be achieved with slightly more challenging goals. Goals that are unattainable show a lack of understanding in the abilities of the organization and may indicate a disconnect between human resources and the rest of the organization.

Make Sure That Needed Resources Are Available

Human resources managers must make sure that all of the resources are in place that will be needed to achieve goals before announcing organizational goals to the organization. Telling employees that the goal is to sell 10 units when there are only 8 available shows poor organization and will make it difficult for employees to take future goals seriously.

Take Employee Abilities into Consideration

In most organizations, employees work at different levels and perform different tasks. Setting the same goal for all employees is not fair and will affect the level of employee engagement. It’s not necessary to set goals for each individual employee, but goals should be set in such a way that all employees are challenged and engaged with efforts clearly measurable.

Encourage Teamwork

It may not be possible to make all goals a team effort, but at least some should be geared towards fostering collaboration if it’s possible. This will help make the goals into a welcome challenge, rather than a grueling requirement. If it fits logically, encouraging friendly competition between teams may also help to drive motivation.

Benefits of Good Goal Setting

Goals can help employees to feel a sense of purpose and competition. This can in turn help employees to obtain fresh motivation. If goals are reached, the organization can benefit from increased productivity and revenues.