Expectations Shift

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Did you and your employees set goals at the beginning of the year?

Were you diligent about setting clear expectations? Good for you! Now let’s address the inevitable: your expectations will change.

We know that a clear performance plan helps employees have direction and purpose in their work. When they know what success looks like, they can be independent and productive. However, the reality is that our organizations are changing constantly. New priorities, new information, new leaders, new economic conditions, new competitive influences. . . these and many more factors may render the employee’s initial goals irrelevant by the time you sit down to evaluate the their progress.

These shifts lead to an obvious conclusion: the employee’s goals must adapt throughout the rating period. If you and the employee are not revisiting their performance plan on a regular basis, the employee will certainly lose focus and be left wondering, “What am I supposed to do now?” Follow these steps to make sure your performance expectations change with the times:

1. Meet with each employee individually on a monthly basis (more frequently if your environment requires it). The purpose of this meeting is to revisit the employee’s goals and to make necessary revisions, based on changes in your environment.

2. Document the changes you and the employee agree upon. If you agree to change a deadline or delete a goal, make a note of it either in a performance log or in your performance management software. However you choose to document the adjustments made to your expectations, do it.

3. Share new expectations as they arise. You may have new outcomes or results you would like to add to the employee’s plan. The organization may decide to change directions. As soon as you are aware of the change, have an impromptu discussion to share new information with the employee.

Sharing clear expectations with employees is the foundation of effective performance management. Maintaining a dialogue about those expectations is unavoidable in today’s rapidly changing work environment.

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