Ever since I shared the importance of establishing clear expectations for employees, I’ve gotten requests to help you do that. Only 60% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they know what is expected of them at work, which leaves 40% guessing and the engagement level plummeting.
At EnergyCAP, Inc., we’ve created role and outcome statements for every employee, which are accessible to the entire company. Doing so has yielded big benefits for our employees, managers, and customers. It has been a collaborative process between the manager and employee.
Here’s how to create a role and outcome statement:
Your “role” is what you’re paid to do. The role is a special and important statement that summarizes the value you bring to the organization. It’s the motto that describes your individual contribution to the whole, the way you must play your part lest the other parts suffer. For this reason, role statements are streamlined phrases that define what you’re expected to do.
The role is the big picture statement that captures your purpose at the organization. It’s what your workplace needs you to do and pays you to do. For example, as Vice President of Human Resources, my role is to “Foster employee success.” This is the umbrella that holds everything I do together like: hire new talent, administer benefits, lead staff trainings, oversee engagement, roll out strengths, etc.
To create your role statement, consider the outcomes you’re expected to deliver. Define the outcomes first, then summarize them into a cohesive, streamlined role statement. Keep narrowing down until you have a succinct and comprehensive role statement that captures the expected outcomes. Your role is more about what you do than how you do it.
Your “outcomes” are what your manager expects you to produce through your job role. Outcome statements are clear phrases that describe the expected results of the role. For example, “One of the best benefits programs in the area,” is one of my job outcomes. This is a clear statement of what I’m expected to produce. Think of outcome statements as nouns, not verbs: satisfied clients, robust documentation, accurate reports, etc.
Outcomes aren’t about how to get there, but instead what the result should be. Employees ought to have a clear understanding of what “end products” they’re expected to deliver. Make it clear what excellent performance for each outcome looks like. If employees don’t know what you’re expecting and what excellence looks like, how will they aim for it? How will they know when they’ve acheived it? How will you?
At our company, we try to limit outcome statements to five role-specific outcomes.
Roles and outcomes don’t explain the “how it will get done,” but “activities” do. Activities are a component of outcomes. The way to accomplish outcomes is through meaningful activities. For each outcome, identify activities that will produce the result you’re expecting. I suggest that employees come up with the activities themselves. When the manager allows employees to plan the route to the outcome instead of dictating the route, then autonomy increases.
Finally, to measure progress of outcomes, establish metrics. How will the employee know how he or she is doing toward their goals? By measuring what is important. If you attach metrics to each outcome, you’ll be able to measure success and offer objective feedback for improvement. With consistent achievement of outcomes as measured by metrics, you’ll know when it’s time to expand the role of successful employees.
Whether you’re an employee or manager, work together to establish a clear role and outcome statement. It’ll require effort, but but you’ll reap big benefits if you do.