Setting Work Expectations

A Guide for Setting Work Expectations

1. Three Quick Facts about Work Expectations

2. How to Create a Good Work Expectation 

3. Example/samples of Work Expectations

Three Quick Facts About Work Expectations 

  1. Individuals and teams perform better when they have expectations.
  2. When work expectations are set appropriately and communicated clearly, job satisfaction increases, motivation improves, and there is increased acceptance of the performance management process.
  3. Setting work expectations consists of a series of conversations between the manager and employees that result in a plan of action and a description of the deliverables that will define success for individuals and for the workgroup.

Conversations that result in understanding and agreement about what will be achieved, how it will be measured, and, at some level, how the work will get done.

Adopted from FYI for Performance Management by Eichinger, Ruyle and Lombardo 

How to Create a Good Work Expectation

They are aligned with business strategies.

At each step down the line, the goals increase in specificity so they can be embraced and owned by that particular level.

There is agreement about what's to be achieved and how it's to be done.

Achieve this through collaborative work expectation setting. Managers who don't trust employees to help draft work expectations miss an opportunity.

There is a line of sight that enables employees to see how their achievements impact the organization.

Help them to see the big picture, to have a clear view up and down and across the organization

Work expectations and development goals are often related but are different; they should be addressed independently and individualized for the performer.

Create work expectations that focus specifically on accomplishments that will impact the business. Create distinct development goals to focus on what the employee will learn. Keep these independent to make it easier to coach employees and to review and appraise their performance

Work expectations are grounded in reality.

The specifics are nailed down.

The results can be readily measured.

Choose performance standards for which measurement methods and processes exist, for which the cost of measurement is not prohibitive, and for which there is shared understanding of the meaning

There is stretch built into work expectations to extend the employee's reach and impact.

Set the bar high, but not completely out of reach.

Results to be achieved are noted clearly in written documentation. 

There are clear time frames and deadlines stated in work expectations.

Due dates provide focus.

Example of a Work Expectation

Example of Completed Work Expectation- Performance Management (image)

For additional examples of work expectations, see Samples of Employee Work Expectations.


Last updated Jan 2, 2018



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