Five steps to effective goal setting for HR

"Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement."

Johannesburg, 14 Feb 2019
Read time 3min 10sec

Yes, we know it! Goal setting is the first step in the journey to achievement.... But are we doing it right? Are we setting our performance goals correctly? Do our goals meet the five hallmarks of effective goal setting?

Read on to learn more about the SMART methodology of goal setting, which transforms goals into a powerful force for achievement with astonishing results.

SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. We will see not only the true meaning of SMART principles, but also its application in goal setting for recruitment.

1. Specific

Be very clear and specific about the goal you are setting. Zig Ziglar nailed its importance: "A goal properly set is halfway reached."

Use action verbs to clearly specify what you want employees to do: increase, reduce, achieve, create, etc. Also include the specific details that will tell your employees what they have to achieve.
Do not write vague goals such as "recruit faster". You should rather set a goal: "Reduce time to fill the positions by 40% in comparison to previous year, by 31st March 2019."

2. Measurable

Measurable goals help to clarify expectations, track progress, objectively evaluate the achievement and stay motivated. Every goal must have a measurable target; for example, recruitment of 20 new sales positions to be completed by 31 December 2019.

If someone completes recruitment for only 15 positions then his/her achievement is 75%, while the achievement is 100% if all 20 positions are successfully closed.

3. Achievable

One of the common mistakes in goal setting is that too high targets are given. The goal should be achievable. It should not be out of reach otherwise employees may become demotivated.

At the same time, the goal should not be too easy to achieve; it should be challenging enough to make the employee work towards its achievement. A goal which is challenging but achievable, inspires and motivates employees.

4. Relevant

Individual performance goals should be relevant in two ways:

(i) Relevant to the role/position of the employee for whom goal setting is being done.
(ii) Relevant and related to the organisational goals, because our ultimate goal is to ensure achievement of organisational goals.

A goal relevant to the role and the organisation: for a recruitment head it may be to reduce the time to fill all leadership positions by 20% as compared to previous year, by 31st March 2019.

5. Time-based

Always put a timeline to the goal, such as reduce recruitment cost per hire by 5%, by 31st March 2019.
A target date provides a deadline to focus on and the employee can plan and prioritise accordingly.

So, are you reaping the full benefits of effective performance goal setting? Does your organisation set SMART goals?

Our recruitment solution, Direct Hire, can help you exceed all your recruitment goals. Using Direct Hire recruitment software, you can achieve 55% reduction in time to fill, 35% reduction in recruitment administration, 70% increase in scare skills applications as well as a 65% reduction in total cost per hire.

MCI's Direct Hire solution is a powerful, versatile and easy to use e-recruitment solution for medium-sized and large organisations that has been specifically designed and developed by MCI consultants to automate the requisition-to-hire process.

For further information, please contact Rhett Davies, MCI: tel (011) 454 3420, fax (011) 454 3417, e-mail


MCI is a dynamic business information systems consulting firm based in Johannesburg, South Africa, specialising in providing IT solutions to medium and large companies across various industries in South Africa, Africa and abroad.

MCI offers a complete solution, which can include project management, consulting services, installation, training and support, packaged software implementations, hosted solutions, product development, including e-commerce and mobile solutions, hardware supply, and network and communications services.

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MCI's approach is to continuously provide solutions to meet its clients' changing requirements. MCI prides itself on delivering excellent customer service and building long-lasting partnerships with its clients.

Editorial contacts
MCI Gabbi De Brito (+27) 082 690 3387
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