Many employees don’t know what is expected of them at work. Clarifying expectations with employees saves time, decreases the possibility of frustration, increases productivity, and makes for happier employees because they know what is expected of them. Clear effective communications about expectations is good for everyone. Use these strategies for clarifying employees expectations.
- Clearly state the project: using clear language, say what the project is, the reason for the project, any priorities, and check for understanding. Ask the employee to say back what they think the project is to help reduce misunderstandings. It’s also important to state what they can expect from you.
- Include the employee in the process: Give the employee latitude in expressing how they would like to complete the project. Ask them if they might have a different way of thinking about it. Work with the employee to set realistic deadlines for the project within management’s expectations and the employee’s workload. If necessary, reprioritize other projects they are working on. This empowers the person to take ownership of the project.
- Exchange feedback regularly: Use the last 10 minutes of your regular one-on-one with employees to check-in, clarify, confirm goals, and address any issues to avoid unpleasant surprises at the yearly employee evaluation. Ask the employee if they are getting everything they need from you. Use this opportunity to be open to suggestions and constructive criticism.
- Standardize tasks and evaluation criteria: Consistent standards help things run smoothly. Develop templates for common tasks and measurements. Create timelines and checklists for frequently recurring events like board meetings or financial audits.
- Recognize good performance: Make sure you let your employees know when they are doing well. It doesn’t have to wait until your next one-on-one. It can be as simple as when you see them in the hallway, “Nice job on that report!” Other ways, employee of the month, staff meetings, or email.
- Articulate values: Talking about values gives everyone an opportunity to reflect on what they’re doing, why, and alignment with the department/organization. Establish and communicate your priorities in areas like customer service or environmental stewardship and make the discussion ongoing.
- Assign realistic workloads: Set expectations with existing resources in mind. As many workplaces reduce the number of employees, sustainable progress depends on setting goals that people can achieve and maintain over the long term while providing work/life balance.
- Aim high: Ambitious expectations can fuel superior performance. Encourage everyone to dream big. Visualize what you would want your organization to look like in an ideal world.
Working together to get a clear picture of your roles lays the groundwork for developing a stronger and more effective team. As the leader, it’s your role to set clear expectations for all involved, including yourself, speak to your vision, and then let your team do the work.
If you would like help with these strategies, please reach out.