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Setting Expectations

Setting expectations initiates the process. Managers need to sit down with each employee and clearly define what's expected of them. When expectations are not clear, employees may not be in sync with their job's current demands and priorities. Setting expectations is not a once and done activity. Jobs change. Priorities change. Resources change. Managers need to revise and set new expectations throughout the year. Setting expectations revolves around the following three areas:

  • Key job responsibilities
  • Performance factors and standards
  • Goals

Employees need to clearly understand the full scope of their job. Performance factors and standards refer to the criteria managers use to evaluate employees. For example, "quantity of work," "quality of work " and teamwork" is factors that are often used to evaluate performance. Managers need to explain how they differentiate between each level of performance. What does it take to obtain an "average", "good", or "excellent" rating on each factor.

The area of "setting expectations" involves establishing goals. Goals may be set that relate to the individual's key job responsibilities and assignments outside his or her main responsibilities. When managers establish goals they need to remember the acronym SMART. Goals should have the following characteristics:

  • S - Specific
  • M - Measurable
  • A - Appropriate
  • R - Results Oriented
  • T - Time Bounded

Problems occur between managers and employees when goals aren't specific, measurable, or when clear due dates aren't established. Goals should be written and reviewed periodically to make sure both manager and employee are on the same page.



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