Department Goals: How To Set & Reach Them

Posted by Trakstar • May 6, 2022 (Last modified August 24, 2023) • 10 min read

Setting department goals and setting reasonable department goals are two very different things. Everyone can set a goal and forget about it until performance reviews come around and they suddenly remember them again. Sometimes, people ignore them until a few weeks before and then work furiously to achieve them. Other times, they won’t remember them until the day of performance reviews, set the same goal for the next quarter or cycle, and then repeat the process repeatedly.

What happens? Stagnation and failure to thrive for employees, departments, and entire companies. If you set reasonable department goals, it can lead to better employee performance reviews, better successes for the company, and even more job satisfaction and employee engagement

So how can you set reasonable department goals for yourself, your workforce, and even your company? It starts with a tool that can help you set and track those goals, starting with reasonable department goals and objectives examples, and then giving everyone the tools they need to succeed.

What is a goal?

What exactly is a goal? At its core, a goal is a desired outcome or target that an individual or team strives to achieve. It provides focus and acts as a guiding star toward success. Goals can take various forms depending on the context, ranging from short-term objectives to long-term aspirations.

In the context of department goals, they are specific targets set by a particular department within an organization. These goals align with broader organizational objectives and contribute to overall growth and success. They provide clarity for teams regarding what needs to be accomplished within their area of responsibility.

Department goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By setting specific measurable and attainable goals within realistic timeframes, departments can effectively track progress and stay motivated.

Goals serve as powerful motivators for individuals and teams alike. They give purpose to daily tasks, create a sense of ownership over outcomes, and foster collaboration among team members who share common objectives.

What are the different types of department goals?

Goals can come in various forms and serve different purposes depending on the context. In a department setting, it is essential to understand the different types of goals that can be set to ensure effective planning and achievement.

One type of goal commonly used is outcome-based goals. These goals focus on specific results or outcomes that need to be achieved within a certain time frame. For example, increasing sales revenue by 10% in the next quarter or reducing customer complaints by 20% by the end of the year.

Another type is performance-based goals, which center around individual or team performance metrics. This could include improving productivity levels, enhancing customer satisfaction ratings, or achieving a target number of completed projects.

Process-oriented goals are also important as they emphasize developing efficient processes and workflows within a department. These goals seek to improve internal operations such as streamlining communication channels, implementing new technologies, or optimizing resource allocation.

Developmental goals focus on personal growth and skills enhancement for individuals within a department. These could involve attending training programs, obtaining certifications relevant to their roles, or taking up leadership responsibilities.

By understanding these various types of goals and their unique characteristics, departments can tailor their goal-setting process based on what they aim to achieve. Whether it’s driving specific outcomes, improving performance metrics, optimizing processes or fostering personal growth – each type has its place in creating well-rounded departmental objectives.

How To Set Department Goals

Knowing how to set department goals isn’t something we are taught. It is something we observe, and then when we have to do it, we replicate what we already saw. Unfortunately, not everyone has excellent examples of just how to set department goals that are achievable and effective. 

To set department goals, there are a few things you want to ensure:

  • Ensure that all department goals align with company goals and objectives
  • Break down department goals by employee and position, so each individual knows their priorities
  • Use KPIs if necessary to help increase accountability of said goals
  • Invite employees to set their own goals that you can review together during performance reviews
  •  Create action plans surrounding departmental goals that keep everyone accountable
  • Break your bigger goals into smaller sprints that can lead to consistent progress
  • Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based)
  • Set goals that are attainable but also set some stretch goals to see people succeed
  • Use their performance reviews to determine how far to stretch these goals (consider using a 9-box performance review to help determine who to give stretch goals to)
  • Set consistent goals across your department
  • Create a healthy dynamic in your department
  • Reward employees who achieve those goals
  • Identify those who are falling short and help them succeed in the future

When creating department goals, it’s almost impossible to do all of these things, but you can pick a few to focus on the first time you develop plans, then choose a few more the second time. It’s not going to be easy, but you are more likely to have a successful team by taking your time and being intentional with your goals.

How To Achieve Departmental Goals

Keeping in mind all of the steps listed above, you need to achieve those goals. The best thing you can do is use a SMART department goals and objectives template (click here to download our free interactive one). Distribute your template and have your team fill them out before they come to performance reviews with you.

Another thing you can do is use performance reviews as a catalyst to achieving your goals. Let’s say that you have a department-wide plan to “Increase the number of total sales (with upsell) by 20% by the end of October.” To do this, maybe you want to have a performance review in Trakstar Perform where you can introduce the goal for the upcoming quarter and talk about how they will achieve it. Then, after that performance review is done, you can enroll singular employees, an entire workforce, or an entire department in training in Trakstar Learn, where they can get any training they need to achieve those goals.

You can easily track who has completed the courses and measure it against their performance reviews when the time comes around. Did that train help? By how much? 

By connecting Trakstar Perform to Trakstar Learn, you are setting the stage to write better department goals and give your employees the map to get where they need to be. With this workflow, you’ll also be able to seamlessly assign training courses as a measurement during performance review cycles. To learn more about the Trakstar Perform to Trakstar Learn integration, you can schedule a demo to see it in action.

Department Goals Examples

Your department goals will depend on size, your company’s overall goals, your employees, your tools, and even the amount of time you have to start new ventures. It isn’t always easy to set and achieve them. You need to worry about employee engagement, burnout, and onboarding and how they all interact with your department goals.

You can even model your own goals after some of these department goals and objectives examples.

HR Department Goals

If you lead the HR department, you know how hard it can be to set human resources department goals because they depend so much on other people, trends in the workforce, budgets, and much more. Often, it is best to set short-term HR department goals when you know you have the means to do so.

Human resources goals need to be an example for the rest of the company because when managers are having a hard time setting departmental goals, they will come to HR for their models.

You can keep a few things in your arsenals, such as some of the examples from the list, this HR SMART goal setting worksheet that can be used repeatedly, and old performance review goals you had in the past. But when people are looking at your goals, you want to ensure they are as good as possible. Some HR  department goals examples are:

These are just a few examples you can give your workers to model good department goal setting.

Goals For Marketing Department

What about a marketing department? The overall goal of a marketing department is typically to increase the number of leads a company has, bolster brand awareness, and try new things to establish a product as the best of its kind. However, many facets go into marketing, ranging from quite technical to more creative, so it can be hard to set those goals. Creative department goals are even harder to get right, and so many marketing directors and VPs of marketing have trouble setting goals. 

Some examples of goals for the marketing department include:

  • In 2023, we want to see a 50% increase in our website traffic by publishing five high-quality, targeted blog posts per week of 1,500 words or more.
  • By June, we want to redesign our landing pages to increase click-through rates by at least 20%
  • We want to increase the number of MQLs in our funnel by 15% via a targeted email campaign by the end of May.

Marketing department goals tend to be bigger goals that are broken into specific positions and employees rather than one overall goal.

Sales Department Goals

Finally, what are some creative department goals for sales? How can you set realistic goals when everyone works for themselves, and it gets hard to create unity? There is always a little bit of competition between sales department members, but setting reasonable goals can bring everyone together.

What do these goals look like? They’ll depend on the size of your sales department, what you sell, and how you approach things like lead generation, but here are a few examples of sales department goals that work:

  • Increase our monthly revenue by 15% within three months by improving our cross-selling tactics, learning more about products, and customizing our sales pitch to our buyer persona.
  • As a team, close 15 deals per month by June. This breaks down to 3 sales per month per member of the team.
  • Double our team’s monthly booking rate by generating a new nurture email series.

Often, these goals will have specific people in mind when they are created. They may help even out the playing field, or they may be designed to precisely help certain team members succeed. The best sales department goals require everyone to be individually motivated for overall team success.

Examples for Remote Work

Are you interested in setting department goals beyond performance? Remote work has taken a lot of companies by surprise, and the idea of creating goals or objectives around remote work is even more challenging. However, on an internal audit of department goals, more and more big companies include goals and objectives around remote work

Some small department goals and objectives examples include:

  • Hold one ice breaker event each month for the next year with 50% or more attendance.
  • Send three unique thank you gifts to the workforce per year that supports other small businesses.
  • Reduce the number of internet-related absences by 60%.
  • Keep the average amount of time to answer messages to 15 minutes or less.

Want to know more about setting department in a remote setting? Read our blog from on expectation setting: Expectation Setting in Action: A Letter To Our Employees.


When managers plan lower goals, it can significantly impact their workforce. They may start to feel like they aren’t being appreciated, their work is valued, or they aren’t very good at their jobs. By setting reasonable department goals, you can avoid making your team feel like they are letting you down or aren’t good at their jobs.

Part of setting reasonable goals and achieving them comes from using tools that help your team. The Trakstar platform is a best-in-breed talent development solution that enables you to attract, retain, and engage today’s best workers. To learn more about the platform, you can schedule a demo today.

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