Performance Management: Are you clear on what you want from your employees?

performance managementPerformance Management and Managing Change

Have your expectations of your employees changed recently? Do you need something different from them? Do they know what this ‘different’ is?

What we want as managers can change on a regular basis. These changes come about when:

  • the needs of the business change,
  • the customer requirements change or
  • the way we do business changes.

When this happens, our view on what good performance looks like also changes.

Where things become tricky is when the people element of change is lost, when the new expectations of the business aren’t explained to the people who need to know the most – our employees. What we do know is that one of the key things that employees want from their manager is clarity, especially in times of change

The challenge, then, is to ensure that on a regular basis we update that view of good performance and then communicate this to them.

The start point is to check that you’re clear on what you want from your employees

Here’s a simple three step process to help you

Using Performance Management for Managing Change: The three step process to defining the expectations of your employees


This’ll take you a few minutes of good thinking time, so why not make yourself a cup of coffee, and if you can switch off the phone that would be great

Then take a blank sheet of paper and write down your answers to the following question:

‘What do you want from your employees’?

Stuck? Here’s a few ideas (taken from a recent workshop)

  • Good communicator
  • Reliable
  • Good attitude
  • Motivated
  • Doing the job to standard
  • Honesty
  • Confidence
  • Effective Teamworker
  • Enthusiastic
  • Solution focused
  • Trustworthy
  • Committed
  • Open to change
  • Creative
  • Give and take

Now, as much as I hate jargon, we need for the purposes of the rest of the exercise, a name for the words or statements you’ve written. Let’s call these attributes


Delete from the list all the attributes that your people are currently demonstrating consistently and well


These will generally be the attributes that you want and need your employees to demonstrate but which (on the basis they’re not currently demonstrating consistently and well) I’m guessing there’s a lack of clarity about.


For each of the attributes left on your list ask yourself the question – ‘have I described this attribute to my employees?’ and if the answer is ‘no’ go on and do that

Summary: Using Performance Management for Managing Change

One of the reasons that change initiatives fail in business is because employees are left unclear about what those changes mean to them at the performance level. In short, they don’t know what they need to do differently to make the change work – what your expectations of them are . Performance management begins with getting clarity with our employees about our expectations – about describing the attributes we need our employees to demonstrate

Would you like to read more about how to describe what you want from your employees?

performance objectivesWhy not take a look at my e-book ‘Motivating Your Staff with Powerful Performance Objectives’ – a step-by-step guide for managers, team leaders and supervisors who want to motivate their staff to high performance. More details HERE



3 Responses to Performance Management: Are you clear on what you want from your employees?

  1. […] what they don’t know you want (and if you’re not sure on what you want take a look at Are the expectations of your employees clear to you? To them?. Get clear on your expectations, and why these are important (see below), and you’re more […]

  2. […] you manage?     (You can read a detailed description of this question as an exercise at ‘Performance Management: Are You Clear on What You Want from Your Employees?’)      Here’s my point – if you can’t describe exactly what you […]

  3. […] what they are currently doing – by simply doing more of the same    (Read more at ‘Are you clear on what you want from your employees? Are they?’)   2. People copy other people – although what other people do is not really working […]

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