An SME, as a general rule, is more fragile than larger corporations, but this is not new. However, it means that not reaching your goals could be catastrophic, and that should not be an option. Setting up Smart Objectives for your employees could be the key to success.
How can you get your team to be more productive and get to achieve new objectives?
By properly defining them, so they are clear, focussed and your employees are able to understand what their tasks and timeframes are. I
However, if you want to do this, you first need to know..
What are the current objectives of your company?
We are going to focus just in one for now. This will make the process easier to explain.
Let’s say, MAKE YOU RICHER! Ok, how do we do that?, and the most important thing. How do we get your team to make you richer?
“How do I get my team to make me richer?”
First of all, what does “richer” means? If you have a fortune of $20 Million (apart from being very lucky) your ideal increase, it may be around 2 more millions (for the purpose of this exercise). Whether if you have an small and brand new company you may be happy with an annual increase of your benefits in $100K.
But again, how do you make sure that they will get to that point? Maybe, you are not even capable of figuring out how to get to that increase in your yearly profit.
As we mentioned we have to make sure that we have a well defined objective to achieve as a company. It is extremely important that they have all the details, that as employees, they will be accountable for. You can not complain to someone that didn’t achieve an objective which was not aware of.
For this exercise, let’s say that you may want to increase your benefits on $100K per year.
Let’s make that personal objective a business goal that everyone can understand and work towards it. Let’s make it an SMART GOAL or SMART OBJECTIVE
What does the SMART Acronym mean?
T Time based
With this in mind for everyone it is easier to get there. They know where to go. So, let’s work over our $100K per year objective.
Is that an Specific objective?
Yes, it has a figure,it is not the initial “I want to be richer”. We have now a number that we can work around. Specific goals are important to set the base of the work that we need to do.
Is it measurable?
Yes, we have a number, if I am $100K richer, it was an achieved objective, if I am $90K richer, the objective was not achieved.
That is up to your company. You have to make sure that is something that you can achieve. If not, it will not be a good objective and will demotivate the team and may not even fight to get to a mid point.
Very related to the previous one. It may be achievable if your competency goes to bankrupt and you take all their clients, but, will that be something likely to happen?
No, our objective was not time based. Yes, we said per year, but it didn’t say when do we need to achieve that objective.
Will I need to be $100K per year richer in 3 months or in 5 years? Which is the deadline that you will be giving to your team? Or will I need to increase my benefits on ongoing basis for the next 5 years $20K per year so I get to the objective in a 5 year timeframe?
So, a good example of an smart goal for employees at this company would be
TO HAVE INCREASED OUR CURRENT BENEFITS IN $100K BY THE END OF THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR
It is specific ($100K per year), it is Measurable, it is achievable, it is realistic (up to you and the industry), it is time based (by the end of the next fiscal year (that date changes in every country)
Now that we have the overall objective for the company. How do we decompose that into specific smart objectives for your employees and your departments?.
A large percentage of employees of small and medium-sized companies complain about the lack of targets to which to work for. Most of the times they complain about a lack of vision and lack of joined efforts.
When things go wrong, the management team pulls towards the subsistence of the company, and they forget to set smart objectives for your employees, for each member of the team.
SETTING SMART GOALS FOR YOUR DEPARTMENTS
We strongly recommend that you do not do this on your own and listen to your team. They may tell you things that could be convenient to know when setting up your goals, and will help you to understand if your extra $100K will be achievable with your current market share, what will you need to do in order to achieve it, and whether if you can do it in a year, or 5.
Example. Let’s imagine that you sell shoes.
How many extra shoes will you need to sell in order to earn those extra $100K per year?
Will that figure be available in your area?Do you have enough potential customers? Do you need to expand? Do you need to have an extra van to deliver? How much will you have to increase the costs to sell that amount of extra shoes?
Will you have to hire an extra customer service person to give service to new customers, or will you have enough with your current staff?
How are you going to achieve selling those extra shoes? Will you need to do some marketing? How much will you spend in marketing? Which is the most reasonable marketing plan for this? If you want to achieve this by the end of the next fiscal year. When do you need to do the plan? And the purchase of new materials? Does your marketing department have the knowledge to do it? Do you need an external agency? How much will it cost? How is that cost reducing your benefit and therefore increasing you selling shoes need? If you manage to sell all those shoes, will the finance department need some help with the invoicing and purchase orders?
How can you put that into SMART objectives for your departments?
There are plenty of good tools like trello or other project management tools that you can use to create a calendar, but you can also do it with a basic timeline like the one below.
Once the timeline is completed, go back to your objectives and define them per department with the SMART model
Don’t forget any of them. Don’t assign it per person, this is not the time to do smart objectives for your employees, but for your departments and areas. First by function, and then, rely on your managers to divide it. They will be accountable for their department’s objectives, and they will be the ones dividing them into smart objectives for their team.
Make sure than when they do it, they are divided into more specific tasks. As an example for the marketing department some objectives could be
- Design the new campaign promoting the new collection by the 28th of august 20XX
- Send adverts to local radio by 15th of September 20XX
- Achieve 5K new visitors on the landing page AA by 20th of October 20XX
We hope this was useful.