Setting expectations

  1. Guides
  2. Performance management
  3. Setting expectations

The very first step in the performance management process is to set clear expectations for performance and behaviour, including clarifying each team member's roles and responsibilities, the goals that they are expected to achieve, the KPIs that you will use to measure their progress, and the expected standards of behaviour.

Setting Expectations

When clear expectations are set, it gives you a benchmark to measure success against, and it gives your team members a clear understanding of what they need to do in order to be successful in their roles. Plus there shouldn't be any surprises if you have to hold them accountable for their performance or behaviour - which makes performance discussions a lot easier.

performance management setting expectations

1. Roles and responsibilities

Confusion about roles and responsibilities can arise when someone starts a new job, transfers from one role to another, if there is a new supervisor or manager, or following a change in the structure of a work unit. Or it could be that roles and responsibilities have just never been clearly defined. Whatever the case, it is essential that each of your team members has a clear understanding of what's in their scope of responsibility.

  • Areas of responsibility - What are the key areas in which your team member is expected to deliver results? (E.g. customer service, staff training, administration)
  • Tasks - What are the specific tasks that they are responsible for within each area? (E.g. answering phones, setting up client accounts)
  • Autonomy/authority - What level of autonomy do they have when completing the task? (I.e. do they need to consult with anyone? Or can they make decisions and get the work done themselves?)

2. Goals and KPIs

The next piece that you need to ensure that your team members are clear on are their goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Goals and KPIs tell your team members what they are striving to achieve and how their progress is being measured.

If your team members don't have goals or KPIs, you should consider putting some in place. The following section Setting goals and KPIs provides some additional information about goals and KPIs, and how to do it.

performance management setting expectations kpis

3. Standards of behaviour

In addition to setting performance expectations, it is also important to set the expected standards of behaviour. Standards of behaviour are the professional behaviours you expect from your team members on a day-to-day basis.

When clarifying expected standards of behaviour you should consider:

  • Organisational values - Organisational values set out what the organisation stands for and should guide the behaviour of every employee. These values need to be communicated and reinforced regularly.
  • Code of conduct - Every organisation should have a code of conduct which sets out how employees are expected to behave across a number of areas. Ensure your team members have a clear understanding of what the expectations are and the consequences of breaching the code of conduct (i.e. disciplinary action).
  • Team ground rules - Team ground rules are a set of unofficial rules that a team agrees upon for how they will behave and work together, for example being respectful when communicating or turning up to meetings on time. Ground rules set a baseline for effective teamwork behaviours.

Learn more

Next: Setting goals & KPIs