How to write SMART goals in Totara Perform

Setting goals for yourself and your team is important. When you deliberately plan your learning around relevant goals, it’s much more likely to stick.

Setting reasonable goals, however, can be a minefield. They can be too broad or too narrow, or they’re so adventurous that it’s hard to know where to start. But goals are useful not only in creating intentional learners, but in aligning employee activities with the organisation’s broader values, vision, and culture. 

In this article, we introduce SMART goals and explore how to make the best of them in Totara Perform.

What are SMART goals?

“Today’s enlightened management knows that the successful corporations of the future must find ways to deal with change.” - George T. Doran

George T. Doran knew in 1981 that organisations can struggle to cope with rapid change. In his seminal article, There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives, he introduced a novel way of setting goals and objectives using SMART criteria. Doran writes that each goal that an organisation, manager, or individual sets should have these criteria. 

So, what do SMART goals stand for? While the meaning of each letter has changed over time, here we reproduce the original acronym as it appears in Doran’s article. Each goal you set for employees should be:

  • Specific – the goal should be targeted to a particular domain.
  • Measurable – you should be able to mark progress and success criteria for the goal.
  • Assignable – who will try to achieve this goal?
  • Realistic – given the time and resources available, is your goal possible to achieve?
  • Time-related – the goal should be time-bound, and you should know when you can expect results.

Here’s an example of a SMART goal: I will graduate from these three short courses about learning design in one year. This goal is specific to the three short courses, has a due date, has criteria for success (graduating), and can be realistically completed in one year.

Doran qualifies that not every goal needs to have, or even should have, all five elements but that the ones that do will be smarter. This is because the quantifiable elements give direction and meaning to the individual trying to achieve their goals. 

So, any objectives you write for yourself or your direct reports should be meaningful, relevant, and have an element that quantifies them. When your learning goals are relevant and meaningful, you get the added bonus of having more engaged and motivated learners.

How to develop SMART goals in Totara Perform

Totara Perform is one branch of the Totara Talent Experience Platform (TXP) that manages professional development, feedback, and appraisals. One important element of Perform is the ability to set goals to shape the direction of your development. 

Goals in Totara Perform have the ability to be SMART, so it’s easy to take your SMART goals and transfer them to your TXP. 

  • Specific: Use the title and description of the goal to be precise about what you want to achieve
  • Measurable: Use course completions or other evidence uploaded to your user profile to prove you’ve achieved your goal
  • Assignable: Users can assign goals to themselves or to their direct reports 
  • Realistic: Consider whether you can finish this goal in time by having a look at your site’s calendar. You might also think about whether you need to skill up before you can complete this goal
  • Time-related: Assign target dates to goals to keep you on track. 

What’s next?

SMART goals are just one way to improve how you set goals individually or with your organisation. With Totara Learn, you can set goals for yourself and others to direct your vision for learning and development in your team or organisation. Why not set yourself a new goal today?

Want to know more about the Totara Talent Experience Platform? Contact us, Totara’s Top APAC Seller.