Setting objectives successfully

Did you know, according to a recent study, that only 50 per cent of employees ‘strongly agree’ that they know what is expected of them in their role? It’s easy to assume that someone must know what they need to do each day – especially if they are in a registered profession – but without clear objectives, it is possible that a team member may find themselves feeling lost and unmotivated.

Making objectives SMART

Setting objectives can improve both competence and confidence as team members gain new skills and become self-reliant in their own areas of expertise. But how we set objectives is important, and this is where the ‘SMART’ acronym can be helpful:

  • Ensure the objective is specific. Avoid vague targets such as ‘reduce client debt’ as this is too broad and some debt (such as insurance claims) will be ongoing. It is better to specify what type of debt to reduce, by what percentage, and in what time frame.
  • Make it measurable. If we’re unable to measure the progress of the objective, we’ll struggle to monitor whether it has been successful. We can choose quantitative or qualitative measurements, but it is important to decide what achievement will look like.
  • Is it achievable? We need to encourage our team to win through achievable challenges, and there is nothing more unmotivating than failure – especially when it is down to unrealistic and poorly-planned objectives.
  • Is it relevant? If the result of the objective has little to no relevance to the mission of the practice, it can quickly feel pointless and won’t be inspiring.
  • Ensure it is time-bound. Both employer and team member should agree on the timeframe for the objective to be completed in. Short-term timeframes are preferable, as objectives will undoubtedly change and evolve over the longer-term of the business.

Whether we are training a new team member, implementing change or looking to maximise productivity, setting achievable SMART objectives can ensure focus and promote success.