As an integral part of business management, human resources has an important job to do. The HR function serves to protect your company from employment liability and litigation, and it works to enable growth for your business through employee management. To accomplish this, HR develops and implements goals and objectives. These two concepts are frequently confused and often used interchangeably when, in fact, they are different. Goals represent the big picture aims you want to achieve. Objectives are the measurable outcomes in which you engage to achieve your goals.


Human resources may have internal goals specific to the HR department. They might include quality, continuous improvement, compliance and outreach. Effective human resources departments also tie departmental goals to the goals of the company. These goals may include recruitment and retention of top talent, professional development, work-life balance and wellness, delivery of employee-valued HR programs and services, and development of a diverse and positive work environment.


Objectives for some of the goals stated above might look like this:

Goal - Recruit and retain top talent. Objective - Develop and reinforce the need for competitive compensation to attract and retain top talent.

Goal - Support talent with professional development. Objective - Research and invest in professional development programs designed to improve job skills, leadership capabilities and employee productivity.

Goal - Promote work-life balance and wellness. Objective - Educate employees about the importance of self-awareness, self-care and behavioral change in improving wellness and productivity.

Measurable Outcomes

The objectives HR sets to achieve specific business goals must have an element that can be measured. Without this, the goal may never be achieved, or may even go unrecognized as having been accomplished. For example, if "recruiting top talent" is one of HR's goals, how will you know if you've really hired the best? A spreadsheet or other similar device could be created to track recruits and the specific skills and experiences of each. This would enable human resources to determine who actually is the "top talent" in your pool of recruits.

Closely Associated

Goals and objectives are closely associated; this is true for the goals and objectives of human resources. Goals and objectives are ineffective if implemented one without the other. HR goals and objectives are viewed as essential aspects of a business's strategic plan. If properly developed, they provide a beneficial guide to achieving business success, ensuring employees are actively participating in creating the success of your company.