Consultant's blog: Do you know what's expected of you?

July 2012

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Opinion piece by one of Insync Surveys' Research Project Managers

It's that time of year when many staff are due to sit down and have their annual performance review with their manager.

Time to review what you've achieved over the last year and whether it has met, or possibly exceeded expectations. With this in mind, I started wondering how many of us really understand what outcomes and standards are expected of us.

The answer is not everyone, or certainly not with absolute confidence. This is based on Insync Surveys' Alignment and Engagement Survey, a benchmarked employee survey developed from extensive academic and statistical research.

If an organisation provides clarity around the specific outcomes that are expected of each individual, and the standard to which these should be performed, then there is an improved chance that these outcomes will be met. It stands to reason that a self-fulfilling prophecy can only exist if we understand what's been prophesised.

The interesting thing to note is that whilst CEOs generally understand expected standards and outcomes of their work, board members actually score lower than senior managers, supervisors and even team members when it comes to the survey question "I understand what outcomes and standards are expected of me". Could it be that the CEO is too busy to sit down with the rest of the board and make their expectations known? Or that board members' KPIs are often not clearly established from the outset? Or is it simply that the board members are privy to so many things that need to be done to promote organisational success that they judge themselves and their CEOs harshly when analysing their own performance expectations? Perhaps neither, but if the direction of your career and bonus incentive are based upon the outcome of your one-to-one, I urge you to seek clarity in understanding expectations.

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