Goals drive businesses, and the right goals drive successful businesses.

But what is a good goal? How do you know the difference between a good goal and a less-than-optimal one?

That’s where SMART goals come in.

SMART goals use a five-point matrix to ensure a high degree of precision in formulating goals and setting metrics for those goals’ outcomes. This advanced goal-setting technique is an indispensable tool for business leaders and professionals.

This article will present 10 examples of smart goals for work.


Quick Summary:

  • A SMART goal is a goal that’s specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound
  • The technique was developed to make corporate planning and goal setting more effective by setting clearer and more attainable targets.
  • With the right tools and systems to monitor and track the progress of specific goals, the SMART framework can be even more effective.

What Is a SMART Goal?

A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It provides a structured approach to formulating objectives in a way that ensures maximum clarity, feasibility, and accountability.

The SMART goal framework was originally designed for work, but you can use it in your personal life too. The technique was developed to make corporate planning more effective by setting clearer and more attainable targets.

People are 42% more likely to achieve goals when they’re well-defined, written down, and include certain distinct elements. When organizations apply the SMART framework to their goal-setting process, they can see far better outcomes.

How SMART Goals Work

Let’s break the SMART goals concept down into its five components.

smart goal definition

  • Specific: You pin down precisely what you want to achieve. Instead of saying, “I want to do better at sales,” specify, “I want to increase sales by 10%.”
  • Measurable: You decide how you’ll measure progress. Having metrics means you’ll know exactly when you’ve hit your target.
  • Achievable: You ensure your goal is realistic. Aim high, but also ground your objectives in reality.
  • Relevant: You align your goals with broader objectives, such as those stated in the company’s business plan or the team’s marching orders. Ask yourself, “Does this goal propel me and my team toward our bigger mission?”
  • Time-bound: You set a realistic deadline. When do you want to achieve your goal? This deadline keeps you focused and motivated.

These five criteria are a powerful framework for superior goal setting.

Breakdown of a SMART Goal Example

Let’s analyze a random SMART goal to see how the components work together to create a highly specific, actionable, and measurable business goal.

This example is taken from the customer service department of an imaginary company. The overarching goal for the department is to improve customer satisfaction.

Restated as a SMART goal, this goal could read as follows: “Improve customer satisfaction ratings by 15% in the next six months through more training and feedback mechanisms.”

The SMART goal breakdown shows the details of each component:

  • Specific
    • Goal: Improve customer satisfaction
    • How: Through training and feedback mechanisms
  • Measurable
    • Metric: Customer satisfaction ratings
    • Target value: 15% improvement
  • Achievable
    • Feasibility: Considering the selected measures (more training and feedback mechanisms), it’s a realistic goal.
    • Resources and strategies: Depending on the current state of the company’s training and feedback systems, resources may include new training materials, hiring external trainers, implementing a new feedback collection system, or improving current feedback channels.
  • Relevant
    • Significance: Satisfaction is a crucial issue in the realm of customer service. It directly affects customer retention, word-of-mouth marketing, and the company’s overall brand reputation.
    • Alignment: This goal aligns with the broader company objectives of attaining a higher degree of customer loyalty. It can potentially reduce customer churn and improve the overall brand image.
  • Time-bound:
    • Duration: Set to 6 months.
    • Rationale: Half a year is an ample time frame for the implementation of new training, the collection of feedback, iterative improvements, and finally, the measurement of the intended tangible difference in satisfaction ratings.

This expanded breakdown provides a clear understanding of how a goal is formulated to fit the SMART criteria.

10 Examples of SMART Goals for Work

Here’s a collection of 10 examples of SMART goals for work. They cover a spectrum of areas, from management to operations.

1. Management

SMART goal: “Identify potential cost savings opportunities to reduce operating expenses by 2% this year.”

Breakdown:

  • Specific: Initiate a project with three clearly defined phases (analyze use data, identify and address underused resources, and reduce operating expenses).
  • Measurable: Reduce operating expenses by 2%.
  • Achievable: Use powerful hybrid work software like OfficeRnD Hybrid to identify underutilized office space.
  • Relevant: Management is responsible for reducing unnecessary expenses.
  • Time-bound: Meet this goal this year.

people achieving their goals

2. Sales & Marketing

SMART goal: “Increase our client base by 10% over the next quarter, measured by the number of new signed contracts.”

Breakdown:

  • Specific: Increase our client base by 10%.
  • Measurable: Use the number of new signed contracts to ensure a 10% increase.
  • Achievable: Given this company’s sales history, a 10% increase is an attainable goal.
  • Relevant: Increasing the clientele is pertinent to achieving sales goals and marketing success.
  • Time-bound: Achieve this goal over the next quarter.

3. Finance

SMART goal: “Reduce departmental costs by 5% in the next fiscal year without compromising on quality of service.”

Breakdown:

  • Specific: Reduce departmental costs by 5% without compromising on quality of service.
  • Measurable: Follow a set percentage in cost reduction.
  • Achievable: A 5% cost reduction is realistic and unlikely to compromise the quality of service.
  • Relevant: Cost efficiency is critical in finance.
  • Time-bound: Achieve this goal within the next fiscal year.

4. Employee Experience

SMART goal: “Integrate a software system to streamline hybrid work management and boost employee experience by 20% within the next six months.”

Breakdown:

  • Specific: Integrate a software system to streamline hybrid work.
  • Measurable: Boost employee experience by 20%.
  • Achievable: Meet this goal through the integration of a new software system that helps employees easily book desks and meeting rooms and entices them to collaborate in person. In addition, you can hire an employee experience manager.
  • Relevant: Efficiently managing hybrid work is crucial to maintaining high levels of employee satisfaction.
  • Time-bound: Achieve this goal within the next six months.

5. Customer Success

SMART goal: “Improve our first-call resolution rate by 6% over the next quarter, measured by the number of issues resolved on the first interaction.”

Breakdown:

  • Specific: Improve the first-call resolution rate by 8%.
  • Measurable: Measure success by the number of issues resolved on the first interaction.
  • Achievable: Aim for a practical 6% increase spread out over three months.
  • Relevant: Improving first-call resolution is important for customer satisfaction and efficient service delivery.
  • Time-bound: Achieve the goal over the next quarter.

working

6. IT & Tech

SMART goal: “Improve website load times by 20% over the next three months by optimizing server resources and refining code.”

Breakdown:

  • Specific: Improve website load times by 20%.
  • Measurable: Measure success using the percentage of improvement in load times.
  • Achievable: This company’s IT department has in-house expertise in terms of server optimization and code refinement, making the goal achievable.
  • Relevant: The company’s staff works primarily online, so website speed is critical for increased productivity.
  • Time-bound: Achieve this goal over the next three months.

7. R&D

SMART goal: “Develop and launch two new product prototypes in Q4, collecting feedback from at least 100 potential customers.”

Breakdown:

  • Specific: Develop and launch two new product prototypes.
  • Measurable: Launch two new prototypes and collect feedback from 100+ potential customers.
  • Achievable: Based on this company’s track record of developing and launching six to seven new product prototypes per year, this is an ambitious goal; however, it’s achievable with the right kind of resourcing.
  • Relevant: Innovation is central to R&D and the overall success of the company.
  • Time-bound: Achieve this goal by the end of Q4.

8. Training & Employee Development

SMART goal: “Launch a new training module every quarter, and aim for each of these to receive a satisfaction rating of 90% or above from participating employees.”

Breakdown:

  • Specific: Launch a new training module every quarter.
  • Measurable: Measure the goal by a 90% or higher satisfaction rating.
  • Achievable: The intended satisfaction rating is realistic for this company due to the focus on quality content that clearly meets perceived employee training needs.
  • Relevant: Effective training boosts employee skills and morale.
  • Time-bound: Achieve this goal every quarter.

9. Admin

SMART goal: “Reduce paperwork processing time by 25% over the next six months through the adoption of a new digital documentation system.”

Breakdown:

  • Specific: Reduce paperwork processing time by 25%.
  • Measurable: Measure the percentage reduction in processing time.
  • Achievable: This is a realistic goal for this company if they purchase and implement a high-quality digital documentation system.
  • Relevant: Efficiency is essential in admin tasks.
  • Time-bound: Achieve this goal over the next six months.

employee working hard

10. Operations

SMART goal: “Reduce product defect rates from 4% to 2% over the next six months through improved quality control processes.”

Breakdown:

  • Specific: Reduce defect rates from 4% to 2%.
  • Measurable: Measure the percentage reduction in defect rates.
  • Achievable: A 2% decrease is a realistic, achievable goal if the company implements improved quality control processes.
  • Relevant: Product quality is key in operations.
  • Time-bound: Achieve this goal over the next six months.

The examples above demonstrate how SMART matrices are universally applicable in business settings. They provide a structured framework for each goal, regardless of the business area. By implementing them, you can improve the integrity of your workplace.

How Do I Write a SMART Goal?

SMART goals are easy to compose by following the five criteria that form the backbone of the technique.

The following four tips will help you compose SMART goals effectively:

  1. Start with a general expression of a goal, such as “We need to increase our sales.” Then, weave in the SMART criteria one by one, as demonstrated in the examples above.
  2. Be clear and concise, and use specific language. Instead of “I want to network more,” say, “I’ll attend two industry events per month.”
  3. Make your organizational goals practical by starting with action verbs. “Implement a new marketing strategy” is more actionable than “We need a new approach to marketing.”
  4. Align the goals with larger objectives so that they fit well into the broader company mission.

And lastly, here’s a helpful SMART goal template to follow:

Template: “By [time], I/we will [specific action/achievement], measured by [measurable criteria].”

Example: “By the end of Q2, we will increase our online followers by 15%, measured by our social media analytics dashboard.”

smart goals template

Measuring and Tracking SMART Goals

Once you’ve set your SMART goals, it’s important to monitor their progress. Without a system in place, even the best-laid plans can go awry.

Here’s how to keep track:

  1. Schedule weekly or monthly reviews or check-ins on the process. Ask yourself, “Am I on track? What needs adjustment?”
  2. Invest in the right project management software that allows you to map out and track your goals. These programs provide real-time data that will highlight your progress and areas that need attention. A good example is Goals On Track.
  3. A powerful hybrid work solution can make it easy to create policies for hybrid work and then monitor employee compliance. And with built-in analytics, managers can identify and measure improvements in real-time.

Watch a 1-minute video about OfficeRnD Hybrid:

Streamline Your Business Operations with SMART Goals

Whenever you need to engage in goal setting — whether during the annual business planning cycle or your day-to-day operations — the SMART goal framework is a great tool for formulating targeted, effective objectives.

Coupling them with intuitive hybrid workplace management software like OfficeRnD Hybrid can help hybrid and remote teams achieve their SMART goals and ongoing success.

Start for free with OfficeRnD Hybrid or book a live demo with one of our workplace experts.

FAQ

Where Did SMART Goals Come From?

The SMART acronym dates back to 1981. It’s credited to George T. Doran’s work in a paper titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives.”

How Long Should a SMART Goal Last?

The answer to this question depends on the nature of the project. The “T” in SMART, which stands for “time-bound,” sets the intended duration, which varies for each goal.

What Is an Example of a Measurable Goal?

Here’s a basic example that specifies two measurable outcomes: “Sell 50,000 copies of the new book in three months.”

What are the SMART Goals for Work Projects?

SMART goals for work projects are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that provide clear direction and benchmarks for success, ensuring teams have a clear understanding of expectations and deadlines.

How do I Write a SMART Goal?

To write a SMART goal, clearly define your objective to be Specific, ensure it is Measurable with criteria for success, make sure it is Achievable within your resources, ensure it is Relevant to your broader objectives, and set a Time-bound deadline for completion.

What are 5 SMART Goals Examples?

Here are five SMART goals tailored to different business activities:

  1. Marketing: Increase website traffic by 25% within the next quarter by implementing a targeted content marketing strategy and SEO optimization to enhance online visibility.
  2. Sales: Boost quarterly revenue by 15% through the introduction of a new customer referral program and increasing upsell opportunities to existing customers.
  3. Customer Service: Improve customer satisfaction scores by 10 points over the next six months by providing additional training for customer service representatives and implementing a new CRM system for better service tracking.
  4. Product Development: Complete the development of a new feature for our software product within the next four months, ensuring it undergoes a full cycle of user testing one month prior to launch to guarantee it meets customer needs.
  5. Human Resources: Reduce employee turnover by 20% by the end of the year by establishing a comprehensive employee engagement program, which includes regular feedback sessions, career development paths, and competitive benefits packages.
Miro Miroslavov
CEO and Co-founder of OfficeRnD
Miro Miroslavov is a software engineer turned into a tech entrepreneur. In 2015 he co-founded OfficeRnD - a leading flex space and hybrid work management platform. As a CEO at OfficeRnD, he grew the company from inception to a leading software vendor that serves thousands of customers worldwide. He is a big fan of flexible working and is on a mission to "Making Flexible Working the Way of Working".