Many times, the success of our employees is influenced by how well we do our job of creating and defining their role and what success looks like for them. For each aspect of an employee’s job description, you should take the time to clearly define what success looks like. Failing to do so can not only frustrate your employee, but also impact your employee retention rates and cause you to rehire and retrain with the same frustrating outcomes.
Defining success up front
In the past we’ve looked at the importance of job analysis and job descriptions to clearly define what we need in a position before recruiting and hiring. Equally important is considering how each of those bullet points within the job description will be measured. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that each point is already a measurement of success. Instead, clearly lay out what it looks like to succeed for each job responsibility and duty. This gives both you and your employee a benchmark for future evaluations and helps you identify any areas where they may need additional training or support.
Communicating the measures of success
It’s not enough to simply define the measures of success ¬— you also need to communicate them to the employee. You don’t want to surprise an employee at their six-month or annual review by evaluating them on a standard you haven’t shared with them previously. By communicating the measures of success in advance, the employee has a plan for success and a pathway to get there.
Employees who know how to succeed at their job and what their employer is looking for will be more engaged in the process and confident in their role. That confidence will spill over to better job performance. If an employee is struggling for some reason in their position, it’s easier to identify the areas for improvement and focus on specific goals and benchmarks along the way when the measures of success are clearly defined.
Reducing employee turnover
Failing to define the measures of success up front can lead to a frustrating cycle of losing employees. When employees lack clarity in their role and what success looks like, they may get frustrated and choose to leave the company. Or, you may end up terminating them because they’re not achieving the measures of success that you failed to define up front. If lack of clarity is the issue, you can end up hiring employee after employee with the same outcome until you clearly define what success looks like for that position. When everyone knows the measures of success, it’s easier to determine where an employee is struggling and how to help.
Knowing when to pivot
Clearly defined measures of success can also help you and your team pivot when necessary. If they’re hitting defined measures of success along the way but still falling short of a big goal, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the big goal or adjust the milestones. Is there an external factor affecting the situation? Or is it perhaps time to adjust the expectations for that specific position? All of those conversations become much more manageable when you’re starting from a place of shared understanding of success.
Defining the measures of success and communicating them clearly to your employees is vital for both the employee and the employer. It sets a foundation of open communication and mutual respect and leads to better outcomes for all.
If you need help creating and communicating measures of success with your employees, reach out to WhyHR to discuss how we can help.