Clear Expectations Increase Success

Employers often ask me how they can get their employees to be more productive.  

The first thing I recommend is:

Be very clear with employees about what you want them to accomplish.

While having a well developed job description is important, that is only step 1.  Most employees can benefit from much more information about what is expected of them on specific tasks and projects.  Supervisors should aim to set clear expectations on a daily basis, or at least on a project basis. And they should be prepared to continue to refine the expectations until they are satisfied that the employee understands those expectations.

I love to ask employers to consider the question
“What does done look like?”.

It’s so important for supervisors and employees to have the same understanding expected outcome. There is a difference between saying “I need a list of required supplies” and “I need an itemized list of all the required supplies with cost and suppliers listed because I need to provide customer X with an appropriate quote by 4pm tomorrow”. These extra details are likely to mean the difference between a satisfied employer and a frustrated employer. I have found that when supervisors are clear and concise about their expectations, they are less likely to be disappointed by the results. And when employees get it right, there is no time to spend on fixing errors.  I have also found that employees who have a clear understanding of what they need to achieve, are more engaged, content in their work, and more productive as a whole.

Before you give instructions, consider what done looks like and ensure you set employees up for success.  You'll both be happier and more successful.