What Are ASMART Objectives and How to Set These Objectives.

The performance management cycle throughout the year connects individual objectives, behaviours and performance to the evolving company objectives and HR Strategy. Performance at the company thrives when managers engage in frequent coaching conversations with employees. What Are ASMART objectives and how to set these objectives?

  • The objective setting conversation takes place in the beginning of each year. 
  • It provides the foundation for performance feedback and development throughout the year. 
  • The performance ASMART objectives tie in to the company’s goals and the company behaviours. 
  • It enables selection of clear, measurable activities that drives employee performance. 
  • The conversation provides dialogue, coaching, and feedback opportunities between manager and employees. 

ASMART Objective Setting

ASMART objective setting starts with thinking about areas that need improvement. ASMART is an acronym used to set and achieve goals. The letters stand for: 

  • Aligned: Aligned with company / team goals and priorities 
  • Specific: Should be well-defined and unambiguous 
  • Measurable: Can be quantified or qualified at the end of the year 
  • Attainable: Should be challenging, yet achievable 
  • Relevant: Consistent with achieving company goals and objectives 
  • Time-bound: Indicate timeframe or target date for completion 

The “S” for “Specific” in ASMART should not be interpreted as: “long”, “a lot of text”, “minor details”, or a “task list”.

Responsibility Managers and Employees During the Objective Setting Conversation


  • Provides clear, actionable feedback and coaching regarding the objectives. 
  • Helps employees identify the areas of focus in order to align with corporate goals. 
  • Leverages an employee’s strengths and interests when goal setting. 
  • Discusses the objectives and goals during regular 1:1 meetings and measures progress. 
  • Works with employees to find the right solutions related to work/life considerations. 
  • Articulates linkage between work and projects that tie to the company mission and goals. 


  • Incorporates feedback regarding objectives and work actions for the metrics. 
  • Matches the identified areas of focus of corporate goals and includes them as part of the objective. 
  • Utilises the strengths and infuses them into the work to achieve corporate goals. 
  • Discusses with the manager objectives and goals during regular 1:1 meetings and measures progress. 
  • Recognises and understands the linkage between work and projects that tie into the company mission and goals. 


More on Metrics:

  • Metrics should be written as an outcome of the work, not the work itself. 
  • Example: “Make 10 sales calls” is a task, “exceed sales targets” is a metric. 
  • Metrics should not be a listing of tasks or project steps and should be limited to the key outcomes for the year. 

In summary, learning how to set ASMART objectives can help companies, employees and managers reach their targets more efficiently. 

Would you like to learn more? Read about the 15 ways to achieve your goals.