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12 SMART HR Goal Examples for Every Company

HR and People departments have come a long way since Toby Flenderson put them on the map in everyone’s favorite binge-worthy show, The Office

And let’s be honest, your favorite people to talk to at the holiday party are most likely under your company’s People Operations umbrella. That’s likely because your HR and People departments are dedicated to the welfare of every employee and responsible for managing their professional life cycle. 

In essence: It’s because they care.

That’s why you can always count on HR managers to remember your name, ask you how you’re doing, and actively listen to your concerns. 

But there’s still so much more that goes into creating a progressive HR department, and setting SMART HR goals are a major piece of that puzzle. 

Come along as we dive into 12 of our favorite HR goals for every company, including their benefits, expert opinions, helpful tools, and SMART examples you can act on today.

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What Are HR Goals?

HR—or what you may call People Operations—is the glue that silently holds the business together. 

While other departments are planning, producing, launching, and marketing a company’s product, HR ensures that those who make up those departments feel fulfilled at work. 

HR goals help give your managers and business leaders a sense of direction when it comes to improving the employee experience throughout their entire tenure. And like all of your company’s goals, the best HR goals are SMART:

S: Specific

M: Measurable 

A: Achievable

R: Relevant

T: Time-bound

Human Resources may have formerly been synonymous with paperwork, policies, and handbooks, but in actuality, it carries even more weight—with a focus on culture, safety, inclusivity, and growth. 

This leaves room for creativity and, dare we say, fun when it comes to planning next quarter’s HR goals. But it also means that you must invest even more effort and careful consideration into setting intentional goals that will have a clear and measurable effect on the employee’s work experience. 

HR goals should also directly align with your company’s founding principles, promote a healthy work environment, and be created with your people in mind!

No pressure, right? 😅

Not to worry! We’re here to help you set and achieve the HR goals you’ve always dreamed of—and your employees will thank you.

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Benefits of Setting HR Goals for Your Team?

No matter your industry, company size, or budget, HR goals should center around growth—either for your employees on a personal level or for the business as a whole. 

Across departments, setting SMART goals brings people together, holds team members accountable, and plants the seed for positive and more productive work habits. 

Why else should you set SMART HR goals?

  • To align your team’s focus with the overall values of the company
  • To improve every employee’s unique experience
  • To give employees a sense of ownership over their work
  • To boost morale
  • To measure your progress and KPIs from quarter to quarter
  • To show people you care

And so much more. 

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from setting thoughtful goals that your HR department can start implementing as quickly as today.

Plus, they don’t have to be that big! Rather than focusing on how you can revolutionize your company’s work environment overnight, think about small changes that will make a big impact and ultimately, drive results over time.

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12 HR Goals Every Company Should Set

It may seem like a lot of these HR goals share similar benefits when they’re carried out effectively, and that is entirely on purpose. 

You also may find that your HR department already embraces one or more small parts of these larger goals. This list will provide new ways to enhance the effects of those efforts in a way that is more narrowly tailored to your employee’s professional needs. 

Use these 12 SMART HR goals to gain fresh perspectives, ideas, and better your company with the resources you already have!

And did we mention there will be templates? Let’s go!

1. Create a culture that is employee-centric

Ever heard the phrase “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life?

Investing time into creating a positive and employee-first work environment is the first step in reaching this HR goal—which is a big deal because as cheesy as it sounds, we all strive for this. ⬆️

When we talk about company culture, we’re not talking about in-office ping pong tables, corn hole, or cold brew on tap—we’re talking about organizations that value the same ideas, work-life balance, and philosophies that you do.

And besides, your people are everything! Putting your employees first shows that you care about and respect them as humans with real lives, interests, and commitments—not just as a workforce. 

Need another reason to rethink your company culture?

Putting policies and guidelines in place to protect the safety, mental health, and work-life balance of your employees will help them develop healthier professional relationships with themselves and their peers. 

And from an HR manager’s perspective, developing an employee-centric culture will take you farther, attract better talent, and help you build a company full of dedicated people who are happy to show up for work every morning. 

One HR goal in any organization should be to create an employee-centric workplace. Such a workplace embodies a culture of respect and trust among employees. When there is respect and trust, employees can feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. This will help them feel satisfied with their jobs and make them more productive. In addition, any HR department’s goal should be to create a safe workplace for all employees. Besides very clear policies in place to protect employees from hazards, and other injuries, employees should also feel safe mentally and emotionally via robust protections from bullying and harassment, such as offensive comments or unwanted physical contact. 

Lastly, following this train of thought, HR should also be to empower employees at all levels of the organization so that they have the ability to make decisions based on their own needs and preferences.

Peter BrylaOutreach Marketing Specialist at ResumeLab

SMART example

Create a new policy centered around creating a positive work environment and present it at your next scheduled company-wide meeting or All-hands. 

This new policy may introduce guidelines surrounding language and behavior related to sensitive topics, conflict management, or even something as exciting as Summer Fridays. 

Looking for ways to keep the team aligned during your All Hands Meeting? We have you covered with ClickUp’s All Hands Meeting template customized for this very thing. Keep your company up-to-date on the latest announcements, encourage collaboration, and improve clarity during meetings with this pre-build List template that covers all of your bases.

All Hands Meeting ClickUp Template for HR
Keep your company up-to-date on announcements and improve clarity during All Hands meetings with this pre-built template in ClickUp

2. Make your purpose and professional values clear

Your company’s core values are the foundation of its culture. 

As an HR or business manager, you already recognize this, especially among new hires. 

You are now much more likely to hear questions from potential candidates related to fulfillment, security, appreciation, and general happiness among current employees. 

These sound like universally-held dreams that we all want and should never expect from our careers. But the thing is, these goals are entirely attainable with the right set of core values to attract like-minded candidates who will commit to your company for the long haul. 

Plus, your core values are not stagnant. They should change as your company matures to keep up with industry trends, brand identity, target audience, growth, and more. 

At ClickUp, our own core values have seen their fair share of edits as we continue to evolve. Think: strong opinions, loosely held. 😎

I mean, you can’t become the future of work without going with the flow and embracing change, am I right?!

Our now seven core values speak to ClickUp as a product as much as they do to the people who power it. These values help the entire team at ClickUp own their work, lead by example, take pride in what they do, and simply have fun. What’s more, they lead us to greater talent, higher retention rates, and endless opportunities for internal growth. 🙌🏼

It’s essential that your purpose and professional values are clear, bold, and resonant. What do I mean by this?

Clear—written in simple, declarative terms and language that everyone understands and remembers.

Bold—the words evoke something. Maybe something a little different in everyone, but no one is unmoved by them. As humans, we have an instinct to congregate in tribes or communities, but those only persist when there’s a clear meaning and purpose.

Resonant—they aren’t just words, they show up in how the company makes decisions and runs things, including and especially hiring. If you can’t point to how they have informed your strategy and mission-critical operations, then you’re not walking the talk.

Nathan DeilyChief People Officer of Nth Venture

SMART example

By the end of the month, create and present a list of no more than seven fundamental values your business and employees connect with.

Pro tips:

  • First, take a hard and critical look at your current company values
  • Seek out inspiration from books like The Slight Edge, Atomic Habits, or Vision to Reality
  • Don’t be afraid to ask other department heads, current employees, and new hires about the philosophies that drive them

3. Pursue employee advancement

For all of the time employees invest in a company, they want to know that the company is willing to invest the same effort in return. 

Integrating learning opportunities into every employee’s experience is a great way to express this effort. 

This HR goal may come in the form of a company-wide LinkedIn Learning account, monthly speakers from within or outside the company, conferences, or mentorship opportunities for any employees with interest. It’s also a step in the right direction when it comes to retaining your top employees, too! 

This Career Path template by ClickUp is an excellent resource to introduce personal career aspirations into every employee’s quarterly objectives. This List will keep your employee’s goals organized and easy to understand, no matter what department they’re from.

Career Path Template in ClickUp Whiteboards
This Career Path template by ClickUp easily and visually organizes all of your employee’s personal and professional aspirations

Candidates want to know that they are joining a team that will encourage them to pursue their passions—even if they don’t have the experience yet. And in the long run, it will only make your workforce stronger, more diverse, and more proactive. 

A business can only succeed if the people within the business also succeed and feel that they have a chance of progressing further. The main goal for HR must be to ensure that the workforce has access to and engages with training to drive the business forward and gain a sense of personal achievement. Differing roles and types of businesses need varying training programs, but HR should be confident that the programs they select are the best suited to the trainees involved.

Morgan TaylorCEO and Co-Founder Sourcery

SMART example

Implement a LinkedIn Learning resource hub across multiple teams this quarter.

4. Strive to enhance the employee experience

We’ve talked a lot about company culture, values, and learning opportunities—but your employee experience spans even further than that. 

Yes, the right work environment helps build the best-fitting talent, but what about the parts of their work-life that don’t appear on a daily to-do list?

The employee experience begins at the first interaction—before the candidate is even hired—and carries through for the rest of their time as a member of the team. 

Elevating your employee experience may include revamping your job postings, responding to candidates faster, streamlining your onboarding process, or even introducing a new monthly award to your company meetings. 

These are all things that help employees feel seen, trust their HR departments, and worry less during the work week. Plus, it shows employees that their company values their time, opinions, and feedback—and not just their performance. 

Check out these Performance Review Templates!

People are our most important asset. Their experience will absolutely determine their commitment. It is imperative that we put focus on the process, programs, and systems that directly connect and cultivate those who said yes to being a part of your organization.

While we all have experienced the Great Resignation, the great revelation is that if we enhance what we do, we will keep who we have. From your onboarding to your recognition and rewards system, to your basic and bottom line policies penned in a guide no one really wants to read, you can enhance the employee experience by actively listening to what they say and what they don’t and using that data to define and design solutions to problems that are hindering performance, purpose, and possibility.

Khalilah OlokunolaChief People Officer of TRU Colors

SMART example

Introduce a new way to recognize your employees by the start of next quarter. If you already have an award in place, how can you incentivize and revitalize it?

Pro tips:

  • Use the rest of the quarter to think about what this recognition entails. Is there a prize? How is it presented to the company? What makes it special?
  • Ask managers to nominate members of their team to help all members feel seen 

Bonus: Meet the team templates for new hires!

5. Focus on people operations

Haven’t you heard? People Operations are the new HR. 

TBH, it was about time for a rebrand. 

Hand in hand with employee-centric work culture, refocusing your HR goals on People Operations shows that you see your workforce as more than a number or a machine. 

For an HR department to be successful with people management they need to focus on ‘people operations’ rather than a solely traditional HR approach. Working towards a POPs goal means that the team is working towards a ‘people-first’ culture, looking at wellbeing, culture, and flexibility. POPs increase employee retention by ensuring the people are happy, feel accomplished, and can see further development, they feel engaged and valued. They aren’t just cogs in a wheel but each individual feels part of the wider business and gets satisfaction from delivering the work that they do.

Tracey BeveridgeHR Director of Personnel Checks

SMART example

Create a quarterly wellness program or event for employees to participate in. 

This could be a bonding moment in the form of group volunteering, an on-demand yoga class for remote teams, or even a wellness Slack channel for employees to encourage their peers’ attention to self-health inside and out. 

Track goals with performance review software!

6. Improve employee retention 

Ah, the never-ending question—we hired our ideal team, now how do we keep them?

Even with relatively high employee retention rates, this HR goal seems to make the list every quarter. 

The Tech industry at the moment is seeing high attrition rates. Having goals and focusing on wellness, culture, and career development will usually significantly improve employee retention. A multifaceted approach will touch on multiple HR Goals to promote successful people management and job satisfaction.

Natasha Wallace Author Image
Natasha WallaceInternational People Operations Partner at ClickUp

If you’re following this article, you are already headed in a positive direction when it comes to lowering employee turnover. The main takeaway to keep in mind is that employees want to know you care and are making choices with their best interests at heart.

Small gestures have a big impact, especially when you acknowledge how real-world problems really do piggyback into the workplace with us. 

Wage adjustments for rising inflation, organizations speaking out on human rights issues, and action plans regarding diversity and inclusion may not seem necessary but could ultimately be the make-or-break factor when it comes to an employee’s loyalty to their company as a whole. 

HR departments have to focus on improving retention. The sudden vacancy of a critical position can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per week. Keeping top talent during financially difficult times should be on the radar of every organization. 

The Great Resignation has had a massive impact on both the economy and the broader culture. Employees across the board – but especially in select industries – are seeking better wages, more meaningful work, improved work-life balance, and greater flexibility. Business leaders need to assess what their top employees need and how they can accommodate those needs. This could come in the form of benefits, growth opportunities, DEI initiatives, and more. Otherwise, employees may be looking for the next opportunity sooner than you might think.

Nir LeibovichCEO and Co-Founder of GoCo

SMART Example

Allow and encourage employees to embrace company benefits for improved mental health and work-life balance while on company time. I.e., let your employees schedule a morning therapy appointment or offer paid time for wellness classes. 

Introduce this initiative at the start of next quarter and use the rest of the quarter to gauge if and how it makes a difference among your employees. 

Help new employees thrive with 30-60-90 day templates!

7. Practice organizational flexibility 

If you have not already created a flexible work environment for your employees, they are in for a real treat.

Part of embracing a positive and healthy work-life balance is acknowledging that we are all juggling a lot more than our daily work tasks. 

As much as your employees may love the office, its environment, parking situation, and team members, having the option to work remotely takes a huge strain off of those who also have kids, pets, spouses, and commitments at home. 

This has become vital in a post-COVID-19 world. Having an adaptable workforce and strategy is very important. Short impactful sprints are becoming the norm in favor of multi-year strategy plans. It is still important to have the end goal in mind, but flexibility and adaptability to get there is key.

Natasha Wallace Author Image
Natasha WallaceInternational People Operations Partner at ClickUp

Bear in mind that a flexible schedule doesn’t always come in the form of WFH. 

A flexible work environment can also look like an adjusted 8-5 schedule. 

Especially for your night owls, neurodiverse team members, and creatives, their best work and motivation may not strike them at the same time every day. A supportive work schedule shows these team members that they are trusted by HR and management. 

SMART example

Extend work-from-home Fridays or Tuesday and Thursday flex options to all employees at the start of next quarter. 

Pro tips:

IT will need a major heads-up if you’re team is currently all on-site. 👀

This Team Requests template in ClickUp will help you store all of your employees’ IT requests, equipment needs, benefits, and supplies in an organized Folder with tasks, Custom Statuses, and multiple views to make your WFH transition as smooth as possible.

Team Requests Template in ClickUp
Store all of your employee’s IT requests, equipment lists, benefits, and more in the Team Requests template in ClickUp

8. Learn and speak the business operations language

We know how important it is to know how our employees feel towards work, but what about the work that they actually do?

This HR goal is less focused on performance and more on highlighting how people’s roles fit together to bring the entire business to life. 

Showing an interest in knowing how various teams operate, how different employees work with others, and common challenges across different roles will go a long way. This will not only build your rapport with employees beyond the onboarding stage, but it will help others feel understood by HR. 

‘You are not the typical HR person’ is a quote I have heard most of my career in human resources (HR). I continue to surprise and delight business leaders by learning the language of their operations and using it in my programmatic solutions from my toolbox. It is my job to make the translation for their understanding, not their job to learn HR!

Jill HidajiChief People Officer of Clermont Partners

SMART example

Schedule separate meetings with team leads in different departments to get to know them, hear about their processes, and learn some of their common lingoes by the end of the month. 

9. Strengthen employee engagement

It’s one thing to create a ton of new initiatives, but it’s a whole other ball game making sure that employees actually attend them. 

By getting to know your employees and making the effort to engage with them, they will be more likely to reciprocate. 

Plus, all of these HR goals are for them! 

These SMART goals just scratch the surface of possibilities. The key to stronger employee engagement is to support them and have a little compassion. 

The one People goal that you must have in your company to be successful would-be employee engagement. Many companies will focus on recruiting, turnover, and retention metrics to measure having a successful people management strategy. I believe that the one measure of successful people management is how engaged are your employees within your company.

The more engaged your employees are the greater return to the company’s customers, sales, and profits. Leaders that focus on engaging employees and ensuring that they are challenged, supported, and cared for will also provide that same level of care and compassion for the company’s customers as well.

The statistics show as you improve employee engagement you could see up to a 17% increase in employee productivity (Wickham, 2020) and up to a 21% increase in company profits (Harter, 2018). It is very clear as companies improve employee engagement everyone benefits, the employees, the customer, and the company.

Neil KatzFounder and CEO of Exceptional HR Solutions

SMART example

Have lunch catered to the office one day a week. If you can, you should start this ASAP. Everybody loves food and there’s nothing like bonding with new friends over a meal. 

10. Build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive company culture 

Arguably, all of your HR goals really start here. 

Employees want to work for a company that reflects and embraces the real world, and most importantly, themselves. A diverse and inclusive company culture leads to a safe work environment, stronger peer relationships, and downright better ideas. 

New perspectives are the key to solving problems creatively, innovation, and ultimately, success. But most importantly, diversity and inclusion help employees feel like they belong. 

This is so important as it makes each employee, regardless of who they are, past experiences, and job role, feel equally connected and valued for who they are at the company. Having a diversity of thought and perspective increases employee satisfaction increases innovation and productivity, and creates an all-around happier environment!

Natasha Wallace Author Image
Natasha WallaceInternational People Operations Partner at ClickUp

No one wants to feel like they’re hiding important parts of themselves or their lives from their team—and they shouldn’t have to. HR is all about the people, and placing a high value on creating an equitable work environment shows that you’re really owning that sentiment. 

The most important goal in people management is to have a corporate strategy that builds a workforce that is diverse, inclusive, equitable, and fosters a culture of belonging. DEIB is an important factor in achieving success.

Angelique HamiltonCEO and Co-Founder of HR Chique Group

SMART example

Set a monthly meeting for any employee to share thoughts, ideas, and concerns related to diversity, equity, and inclusion within your company. 

Pro tip: Make sure employees know that they can always reach out to you personally with concerns if they cannot attend are or are intimidated by a meeting environment. 

11. Create a safe and secure environment for employees

Mentally and physically, work should always be a safe and secure place for all employees. 

This is not just relative to how employees treat each other, but how comfortable they are asking for help, reporting uncomfortable situations, and simply speaking their minds. 

Yes, flexible work environments help employees feel more secure and comfortable as they can choose their own work locations, but that should not be the go-to option at the first signs of toxicity, burnout, or distrust among teams.

The number one goal I have in my company is to be able to foster a work environment where employees feel safe and secure. We want our employees to trust their supervisors, and we want them to feel comfortable asking for help when they need it. I would also like my team members to know that I am available 24/7 for any questions or concerns they might have.

A great way to accomplish this is through a system of communication that allows me to easily reach out to each employee on their preferred method of contact (e.g., phone, email, text message). As the leader of this organization, I am responsible for setting the tone and culture within our team as well as providing guidance when needed in order for us all to succeed together.

Andrew CussensOwner and Director of Film Folk

SMART example

Reach out to employees by the end of the week to determine their work and communication preferences so they know that you respect and understand their individual boundaries. 

12. Prioritize feedback from every angle

When HR says “we want to hear from you!” we mean it. 

Digital feedback forms are a convenient and quick way to gather customer and internal feedback.

A customizable feedback form template like this feedback form in ClickUp will not only help you collect feedback quicker, but will take some of the pressure off of sorting through it by automatically adding it to a categorized list with multiple view options, Custom Fields, and Custom Statuses.

Feedback should be an everyday occurrence and expected after any interaction. Direct, honest, and kind feedback is the key to innovation and will ultimately lead to more productive meetings, conversations, and work quality across the board.

Professional development centered around psychological safety, empathy, and Radical Candor are some important initiatives that have tremendously boosted employee engagement at ClickUp. When employees truly feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves, it reflects within the company. When they feel that their thoughts, ideas, and feedback are valued, they make sure to bring forth solutions. When all people regardless of role realize that they contribute to the psychological safety of an organization, all people work hard to uphold it.

Mandy Mekhail Author Image
Mandy MekhailInternal Enablement Manager at ClickUp

Every team member is hired for their unique combination of skills and experience that make the entire company stronger. 

No company is ever intentionally at a standstill, but the best way to start pulling yourself out of a rut is to turn to your team for feedback.

Most often, the primary focus of feedback or review programs is the assessment of individual performance by managers with limited input from peers or others. This structure limits team performance and hinders alignment and progress toward organizational goals.

An organization that creates an environment where feedback–whether constructive or congratulatory–is expected and empowered for individuals at every level builds trust and increases the likelihood for strong individual performance and engagement as well as the achievement of business objectives.

Kendra HaberkornHead of Talent at Range Ventures

SMART example

Make sure employees know that feedback is expected and important to your company with a set of guidelines on how to deliver feedback. 

Ask employees to write and share “Work With Me” documents by the end of the week with their preferred communication and feedback style to keep the feedback experience honest, positive, and personal. 

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How to Track HR Goals for Your Team

Woohoo! You have 12 SMART and people-first goals to introduce to your HR departments and your employees will feel the benefits in no time.

Even for what seems like the smallest adjustments, having powerful work management software to organize your teams, goals, and KPIs is essential to fostering positivity around new initiatives.

That’s how ClickUp lifts the weight off of your HR team’s shoulders.

ClickUp is the ultimate, all-in-one productivity software to create, track, and hit your goals on the same platform that already manages your other work tasks.

Box View in ClickUp
Visualize what your team is working on and what they’ve accomplished with Box view in ClickUp

ClickUp’s feature-rich experience is designed to boost productivity across all departments—including ClickUp’s Goals feature for monitoring progress with numerical, monetary, true or false, and sprint Targets.

ClickUp Goal Tracking
Stay on track to hit your goals with clear timelines, measurable targets, and automatic progress tracking in ClickUp

Keep all of your HR goals together in structured Goals folders and easily edit permissions to control who can access different goals—perfect for setting both personal and team-oriented objectives.

Beyond its customizable Goals feature, ClickUp also offers an endless library of free, pre-built HR and recruiting templates to help you act on new ideas the second you have them.

Don’t sleep on your HR goals for another second, sign up for ClickUp for free to start refocusing your operations on the people who drive the business’ success. 💜

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