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Specific goals should address the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. Specific goals are easy to understand and the desired future results are specified.
Measurable goals describe how each goal will be measured (numeric or descriptive). To measure outcomes, the focus is on elements such as observable actions, quantity, quality, cycle time, efficiency, and/or flexibility.
Measurable goals answer the questions
Action-oriented goals identify actions to be taken or results to be achieved that will contribute to the achievement of a larger objective within a specified period of time. Action-oriented goals use concrete action verbs such as create, design, develop, implement, produce, etc.
Realistic goals ensure the new employee has the capabilities (skills, knowledge, tools, and resources) to accomplish the goal. Realistic goals are appropriate in scope, achievable even with other commitments, and within the new employee's power and influence. The goal may be a stretch, but still feasible one step at a time.
The time frame for achieving the goal is specific and includes beginning and end dates, as well as interim steps and a plan to monitor progress. Short- and long-term goals may have varying time frames.