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3 Ways to Make Work Expectations Clear to Your Employees

Blog / February 22, 2018

Making expectations clear for your employees is one of the primary principles of management, but many managers fail to do it effectively and assume instead that everyone’s on the same page. But when that’s not the case, the workplace becomes tense, people become anxious and resentful, and divisions take over. On the other hand, when expectations are clear, work operations will be more efficient, more productive, and more streamlined. Here are three ways to make expectations clear for your employees.

Clarify roles

Write clear and specific job descriptions that you present to your employees before they’re hired and again at orientation. Make it clear that the written job description is the bare minimum of your expectations for the role, and the employee should still be willing to go above and beyond, initiating new projects and fulfilling extra responsibilities as needed. Work with them to set motivating yet realistic goals for their performance. If the bar is set too low, you risk letting them settle for complacent habits. But expectations that are too high, or even impossible, result in overwhelmed, frustrated employees who might be pressed to leave.

Keep the conversation alive

You must meet with employees more frequently than just at annual review time. Meet with individuals at least once a month to discuss goals and progress so no one is ever surprised. Be direct and transparent about deadlines, quotas, and other details about specific projects. Plan regular meetings with your employees in a group or as a team so you can make sure that everyone’s hearing the same messages and can collaborate accordingly.

Check for understanding

Ask open-ended questions to make sure your employees understand individual tasks. Instead of simply asking them whether or not they understand, ask them to repeat back what you’ve explained so you can make sure they’re comprehending. Encourage them to ask clarifying questions and maintain an open line of communication with honest feedback that goes in both directions. Remind your employees of company expectations by comparing their progress to your predetermined goals and company standards. Affirm what is already working, provide critiques in a constructive manner, and encourage employees with praise and appreciation.


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Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh