Increase Engagement by Creating Job Descriptions Using SMARTY Goals

Engagement. What is this? Webster defines it as a promise to meet or be present at a particular place and time. 

So, how many of your employees are engaged at work.  Truly engaged?  

According to Gallups 2018 poll, only 34% of the US workforce is engaged.  And of those engaged, their profitability is 21% higher than the rest of the workforce.  

What Creates an Engaged Employee? 

That is a loaded question that we will unpack with upcoming blog posts.  Yet, let’s start with the HR Foundation; specifically, as it relates to job descriptions.  This starts with clear expectations and accountability.   

How do staff know what it is that they are supposed to be doing up front?  They know this from the job description AND what we call Ideal Employee Characteristics. 

The first serves as a resource for staff and managers to ensure everyone knows what is required of that specific position.  The second serves as a marketing tool that defines the why behind the job and the exact type of person to be in that position.  Essentially, think of it as a marketing tool where you are reading it going “Wow, that is me and this solves all of my problems as an employee in my current situation.”  More on this in an upcoming post. 

Using SMARTY Goals in Job Descriptions

The job description has specific essential duties that are typically very vague and cannot be tied to specific goals.  Your goal is to ensure that they are accurate and meaningful.  When job descriptions are vague or inaccurate, issues develop. These issues can be found in the recruiting process, performance evaluation and when needing to discipline and/or terminate an employee. 

We chose to fix this issue by creating all of our job descriptions using SMARTY goals.   

  • Strategic 
  • Measurable 
  • Actionable 
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound
  • WhY

Yes, this does take a bit more time to write and may need to be updated as processes and procedures change in your organization.  Yet, with SMARTY goals you are tying the job descriptions to the culture of your organization through the WHY and you are being very specific on what the expectations are so that your staff can hold each other accountable driving a culture of excellence.   

Let’s Look at a Couple Examples 

Recycling and Reclamation Workers 

  • Essential function:  Sort materials, such as metals, glass, wood, paper or plastics, into appropriate containers for recycling. 
  • SMARTY essential function:  Sort 10 tubs of materials such as metals, glass, wood, paper or plastics into appropriate containers with a 99% accuracy rate per hour to preserve our environment while delighting our clients.  

Construction Carpenters 

  • Essential function:  Install structures or fixtures, such as windows, frames, floorings, trim, or hardware, using carpenters’ hand or power tools. 
  • SMARTY essential function:  Install structures or fixtures, such as windows, frames, floorings, trim, or hardware to 99% accuracy within the specified timeframe outlined in each bid sheet using carpenters’ hand or power tools to delight clients in fulfilling the purpose and inspiration of the building aesthetically and functionally.  

Accounting Clerk 

  • Essential function:  Operate computers programmed with accounting software to record, store, and analyze information.
  • SMARTY essential function:  Complete accounting tasks using QuickBooks software with 99% accuracy in data entry performing X amount of entries per hour to provide accurate and up to date information to internal stakeholders ensuring cost-effective operations that fulfill our mission of xyz…. 


The key to any goal is first writing it and second to ensure that you are reviewing it on a specified timeframe and tracking your results.  For us, we know that if our goals AND our actions are not in our calendar, they do not happen.

So, do you love what you are learning?  Great!  Put some time in your calendar right now to review ONE current job description and transform it into a SMARTY job description.   Looking for support?  Check out our HR foundation programs.