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Setting Expectations Of Your Employees

Published January 05, 2016 (last updated June 24, 2020) -
Woman Smiling At Camera During Work Standards Meeting

If the last year saw some of your staff underperform, fall short of communicated targets or generally fail to meet your behavioural expectations, then now is the perfect time to set new and/or improved standards for your staff.

Setting standards and expectation should be part of any business procedure and should be included in all employee inductions. These standards should also be outlined in your Employee Handbook, providing the opportunity for employees to read, understand and provide a signed copy of them as acknowledgment.

With the New Year upon us, this presents a great opportunity to review your current standards and adjust accordingly. Has your business experienced growth or change? Perhaps it is just time to start afresh.

When reviewing your standards and expectations, you should take many items into consideration.

– Measuring performance
– Dress and appearance
– Behaviour at work, including acceptable vocabulary
– Cleanliness and hygiene
– Social media and internet
– Mobile phones and other devices
– Drugs and alcohol
– Expenses
– Company vehicles
– Personal, client and/or conflicting employment relationships
– Bullying and harassment
– Resignation/termination of employment
– Performance and capability

When structuring your standards, you will also need to think about how best to manage these in terms of employee conduct and performance.

Employee conduct refers to the enforcement of your rights as an employer in matters that breach any standards included in company policies and procedures.

Employee performance covers issues such as performance appraisal, promotion, demotion, and any personal grievances.

How to ensure your standards are being met

Job descriptions

All employees should have a specific job description for their role. This document should outline exactly the expectation of the person performing the role and will also help to measure their success. These types of documents also help to set very clear expectation of what is required and by reviewing it with your employee, allows for any areas of confusion to be clarified.

Performance appraisals

Carrying out performance appraisals is a great way to measure how your staff are going. This is the process of summarising, assessing and developing the performance of an employee, in-line with your expectations.

This process should be a continual ritual, rather than just once a year. By adopting this method, even via a more relaxed conversation, employers have the opportunity to address any issues as and when they arise, meaning there are no surprises for either party. This will also allow you to assess if the issue is the result of the employee’s level of skill or if their willingness to perform is the issue. This process also fosters open communication, provides the opportunity for improvement, training and reviewing, and can assist in the development of company culture.

Set goals

If you are reviewing your standards to help achieve company growth and/or success, setting goals which are clear and structured can help motivate employees and drive passion. As you set these company or individual goals, make sure they are measurable, time driven and challenging. You should also ensure there is a visible line between attaining the goal or not, as this will help avoid confusion amongst individuals and/or teams. Write them down. Visuals are a constant reminder and motivator.

What to do when your standards are not being met

Managing poor performance

An employer may need to discipline an employee in response to a perceived misdemeanour or misconduct.  The most common form of discipline is an oral or written warning, alerting the employee to the actions which is deemed inappropriate. Any identified misconduct should be in-line with your standards and expectations. As part of the disciplinary process, counselling and interviewing the employee will help to discover specific reasoning behind the behaviour and also helps facilities improvement.

In some instances where serious misconduct has taken place, instant dismissal is permitted. It is important to make sure you understand what constitutes serious misconduct prior to carrying out. Click here to read our guide on managing misconduct and poor performance.

Many businesses and industry will varying in what the specific standards are for their workplace. If you have any questions, or would like assistance in updating your Employee Handbook, call 1300 651 415 today to speak to one of our professional advisers.

About Employsure

Employsure is Australia’s largest workplace relations specialists. We take the complexity out of workplace laws to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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