Imagine if all of your employees met, or even better, exceeded your expectations. Or at the very least, where they might miss the mark from time to time, you have the systems and processes in place to manage that? Here are a few simple methods you can put in place to keep your team on track.

provide a position description that details their responsibilities and the measurement so they know clearly how to meet or exceed the expectations.

If you take the time to create an accurate position description, the rest will fall into place.  Don’t skip the importance of this step. Also note, if you give a team member a different set of responsibilities, make sure you loop back into this step. Clarity is key.

You can never go past the SMART Goals approach to ensure that your team meets the expectations you set. Each goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.  

A good practice is to reference the position description in the employment contract without making their role description part of the contract.  Something like ‘The duties of this position are set out in the attached position description. You will be required to perform these duties and any other duties that may be assigned to you having regard for your skills, training, and experience.

 A position description should include the following basic information:

  • A list of duties or responsibilities the employee will perform in their role, including the measure meeting expectations/success. (the measure is really crucial)
  • Who the role reports to
  • Skills list where relevant (competency levels with excel, word, etc)

An example of a Responsibility and success measure could be:

  • Responsibility – Record and circulate all incoming mail.
  • Measure – Mail is recorded with accuracy in the register and delivered daily by 12noon.

 allow the team member to self-manage parts of their role

This is important for the engagement of your individual employees. This means they know when they are meeting or exceeding expectations, and do not require constant feedback or check in’s.  They can literally ‘get on with the job’. For the team member to be able to do this, however, they must have clarity on what ‘meeting expectations’ means. 

meet with your team regularly (at least every three months) and talk to them about their role

You want to be talking about where your employee is doing well and the areas where they need to focus.  This will help them progress, it will make them feel relevant and important to you. A happy and fulfilled team member will perform better.  Ask two simple questions and give observations; 

  1. I’ve noticed you are performing really well in these areas, what are the areas of your role where you feel you are having real success?
  2. Where do you feel you are struggling or can identify a need for more training or development? 
  3. I have also noticed these things, let’s talk about how you can focus on improving these things.

If you create a culture where the above questions are asked regularly, the team will become more and more proactive and ready with their thoughts.  You will turnaround issues and challenges a lot quicker.

provide real-time regular feedback

Real-time feedback is particularly important for your team if you plan to support them to achieve their goals and your expectations. When a team member has made an error, addressing the error and guiding or coaching them on how to fix it, at the time, is the best approach for their development and their engagement.  Enabling a team member to continually make mistakes (perhaps you may be avoiding a difficult conversation) to then only addressing it down the track via an annual meeting, is slack leadership. Leaders need to develop the skill of having all types of conversations including the difficult ones.  

If a team member is really struggling to meet your expectations, consider starting a performance improvement process with them. This will include, addressing the issue, giving strong clarity on what the business needs, ascertain if they can make it with training, development or just time and mentoring; set a timeframe and monitor. 

If performance is affecting the business and morale (including the individual) and you have given the employee sufficient time to improve, however, they are unable to meet the expectations of the role, you may want to consider ending their employment with your business. 

saying thank you and acknowledging great work

This will make your team feel appreciated and give them a good indication of how they are going. This coupled with regular constructive feedback, creates a mutually beneficial environment where your team will grow in their abilities and confidence, the trust will deepen and they will naturally become more engaged.

An employee will have high levels of job satisfaction if they feel relevant to you, can see how their role and their contribution benefits your business, along with a level of autonomy that comes from knowing what is expected of them. 

If you would like help navigating the performance management and KPI process, let us know.


Originally authored by Anna Chipperfield.